Observations From Campus: 33 Is The New Old

When I go to class I feel old.  I’m not, but I feel old.  I feel old because the majority of students on campus are in their late teens or early 20s.  I feel kind of like a mother figure–even though I am only 33 years old.  This feeling started when I was in my Argumentation and Logic class and I was put into a group for a project.  We needed to share emails, so I pulled out a calling card.  One young man in my group stares at my card and says, “I wish I could just open my wallet and pull out a card like that and hand it to someone. That’s so awesome!”  Maybe when he has four kids and handles paperwork for a business and goes back for a masters degree he’ll have one, too.

I was sitting in the lobby of one of the UCD class buildings observing the other students.  I was eating my sack lunch while listening to the other students.  They were complaining about being interested in someone who didn’t reciprocate their feelings.  There were talking about how they could barely afford their cell phone bills–their only monthly bill–and it was the end of the world.  They were talking about how mean their friends are.  They were nervous about being approved for credit cards that they don’t need so they can buy $2.50 energy drinks.  All of that stuff that doesn’t matter once you have a family or pay a mortgage every month or start a business.  What’s worse–I know I was just like them when I was that age.

I think I am the only person that is horrified at the cost of food on campus.  Mark and I probably bring in way more money than any of these kids, yet I watch these kids buy that expensive, tasteless food and wonder how they pay for it.  Oh, that’s what the VISA is there for. I watch kids that look like they just learned how to drive swipe credit cards for over priced energy drinks and $6 burritos like they were the children of Donald Trump.  I forgot my lunch once and had to buy my lunch on campus.  I felt ripped off for the rest of the day.  I think I’m the only one who brings a lunch. However, I know I was just like them when I was that age.

OH, and coffee… In the 90s we bought 50 cent sodas from vending machines.  Now kids buy $4 coffees like they cost a quarter.  Everything is SO much more expensive and specialized.  I watch kids on iPhones and Droids all day.  I love it when they complain about paying the bill–they could cancel service and have one less bill to pay.  It would’t be the end of the world!  I just got my first smart phone a couple of months ago.  I cringed when I did it, but I need it to help run the business from school.  In the 90s that was one expense that college students didn’t have–and I didn’t feel like I was missing out on anything.  It’s easier to enlist the help of VISA than cancel service. Yep, I spent my junior year of college paying off my first VISA, too.

This school experience is going to be a lot different than my last one.  Did I mention that the desks shrunk? LOL.  I don’t remember them being that small before–even though I’m pretty sure they are the same desks…. but that’s another story.  I think the funniest part is that I have more in common with my professors than I do with the other students…  Hello college!

3 thoughts on “Observations From Campus: 33 Is The New Old

  1. I’ll have to say that I don’t remember all college kids being that way and it was only 5 years ago for me. I rarely ate on campus, though I did have a coffee drink once every few weeks. (In architecture school where the lights never turn off in the building, you practically needed to live on energy drinks and caffeine, though I couldn’t due to money & health.)

    I think a lot of college kids are given too much and should really earn their reason for being there. I didn’t do the credit card thing, budgets were super tight, and got through with the education I wanted and deserved. It wasn’t about the parties and cool phones back then. Any ‘gadget’ purchased (aka nice graphics PC for the time) was a necessity due to the courses I was taking, not just to have for fun. That stuff starts now. 🙂

    Maybe the other college kids need the ‘mother figure’ to show how ridiculous their worries and ‘needs’ are… Hang in there, Liz. You’ll blow them out of the water!

  2. It is so exciting to read about your campus experiences while giving your unique insight and perspective. I can’t imagine running a business, taking care of your family, participating in church, and pursuing your Ph.D. I bet you will be falling asleep in that lazy boy chair many a night with your textbooks on your lap.
    Keep it up.

  3. I wonder what the 30-somethings were thinking about us, back then.

    I envy you a return to school. Though there are many things I miss about college, most of them are not things I could recapture by going back – the social life, the (relative) lack of responsibility, the freedom, the spontaneity (midnight cookie-dough run, anyone?). Marching band, lol. But I never thought I would miss academia, and I do.

    I missed academics even before I spent my days communicating with preschoolers. While I definitely don’t miss 20-page papers and pulling all-nighters, I do miss the intellectual stimulation of class discussion, reading, even the lectures (well – the good ones, anyway!). It’s so hard even to find the time to read now – I really don’t know how you are pulling off everything you are doing! But you always were ambitious.

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