My first week on campus has been a crash course in survival. From the top of the hill, it looks like miles between my first and second classrooms. Administration is generous with an additional five minutes for this transition of the entire class to shoulder backpacks and totes, abandon an upstairs room, huff and puff through a construction maze, and settle in for the second roll call in fourteen minutes and fifty-nine seconds.
Even cardio rehab hasn’t strengthened me enough for this jog. I lope toward my car in Lot P. On the ten-miles-per-hour drive downhill to Lot A, I pray for a space. A holy angel, or perhaps a tardy student, gives me the last spot. I hang my handicap placard, grab my tote bag, click the car locks and take off in a trot to traverse the football-field length of open pavement of blazing sun toward a covered corridor. I slip into my seat before the minute hand hits twelve on the clock.
On Friday, I negotiate Lot F where most of the spaces are fenced off for construction or reserved for staff. I pull into a handicap spot and saunter into the library in three minutes–twenty minutes early. Thank you, parking lot angel.
What have I, a nontraditional student, observed on my first week on campus?
- I am old enough to be the great grandmother of most students.
a. Neither this status nor my handicap parking placard exempt me from rules made for young students.
b. My white hair (a.k.a. silver locks) prompts unabashed stares from youthful faces, but I must pretend not to notice.
- I see the surprise on my instructors’ faces when I say I am here on an Eden Housing scholarship.
I combat all these with a single focus…
…it is never too late to learn.