I recently decided to go back to school. When I say “recently,” I mean four days ago. Well, to be honest, I’ve been wanting to go back to school for a long time, but I just couldn’t figure out what I wanted to go back for. I thought technical writing was it…until I took a class in technical writing and realized that would have been a waste of time. Not because I’m such an awesome writer and could easily change the tone of my writing to fit any audience — but let‘s face it, that‘s pretty much true. It’s because in order to write about something technical, you need to know about that thing, which is usually computer-related or marine biology-related or something else I know nothing about. So learning techniques for how to describe the proper use of a computer program is pointless if there’s no hope in you figuring out how to properly use that computer program. Or the computer the program is on, for that matter.
Anyway. I’ve been searching through offered programs and degrees at nearly all of the Minnesota colleges/universities and couldn’t really picture myself in any of those fields. Somehow it dawned on me that I might enjoy economics. I realize for most people who know me, this may sound like a very odd thing for me to go into, but if you let me describe how economics works I think it would make sense. But no one really cares about that, so let me try to get to the point of this blog.
So I enrolled at a conveniently-located local community college, found the course I wanted to take and was ready to go. Unfortunately, it’s not that easy. The school needed my official college transcript before I could technically be accepted. Since that takes about a week to happen and I had about 24 hours, I had to go into the admissions office to meet with a rep, prove that I was, in fact, myself, and ask the admissions rep to vouch for me and approve my entrance into my preferred class.
It felt really odd. Since I already have a bachelors degree, I feel like I’m a know-it-all when it comes to college. I’m practically an expert. I’m assuming once they see my transcript they’ll send me a letter — no, they’ll give me a phone call — to express their sincerest apologies for making me jump through all these unnecessary hoops. Miss Quick, we had no idea you really knew all of this already — we are so sorry for ever doubting you. Please don’t let this careless mistake on our part ruin your experience at our establishment. If there’s anything we can do to make up for this horrifically embarrassing error, please don’t hesitate to inform us.
My meeting with the admissions rep lasted about 45 seconds. Because today was the first day of classes, she had probably been working non-stop assisting students like me, who decided to apply for admission four days before classes started, and was fried. If she was trying to hide her frustration and annoyance with me, she wasn’t doing a very good job of it. But since our meeting lasted about a minute, I don’t really know what I need to feel sorry about. If the school is that frustrated about students who apply so late, then they should just not accept me. But I have a feeling they wanted that $500 for the class and my application fee, plus my book purchase. So maybe this admissions rep needs to get on board the profit train and change her attitude.
After she so kindly gave me permission to register for my one class, she sent me on to the Records office for more standing in line. I’m not really complaining about all the standing in line. Well, I guess I am complaining about it, but I was 100 percent prepared for it since it was the morning of the first day of the semester and everyone was probably scrambling. Anyway. After standing in line for that, I decided to venture over to the campus bookstore to buy my textbook.
I asked three people how to get to the bookstore (because I couldn’t find a sign on the walls that told me), and every single one replied only by saying, “Just follow the paw prints.” The school’s mascot must be some kind of wild cat because cat-like paw print decals were adhered to the floors. The paw prints, however, did not include anything about a direction to follow or instructions for how to know which direction they were pointing in. It was very frustrating to not just have someone say, “You go straight through this hallway, then to the left, then you’ll see signs.” Or at least to say, “See the paw prints here? They point in the direction of the bookstore based on where this claw points. If you just keep following them, they’ll lead you to the bookstore.”
So once I found the bookstore 100 percent on my own without the help of any school faculty or student, I stood in another line to get my textbook. In my previous school, the store looked like an actual store. You walked in, went to the aisles of books and found your specific class listing and the books you needed.
Here, it’s like a giant warehouse. You stand at a counter until an employee approaches you. He asks for your schedule, then he goes to the warehouse and finds the book(s) you need. You stand there, along with four or five other people who are waiting on their book guy to do the same thing. Then when your person brings your books, you and the other group of students fight one another to decide who gets to use the available register. There is no way to form a line because you’ll all jumbled in this tiny space together and it seems like more people keep getting added to the space because others are being handed books, so the line-control guy thinks this means he can add someone else to the pile. The girl at the register doesn’t know what to do because she has no idea who was first and isn’t assertive enough to just pick someone and go with it. So she stands there, clueless — yes, Maura, I‘m talking about you — wondering if she should just take the person closest to her or try to remember who she thought might have been there first. So it basically comes down to those of us in the jumbled mess. We just have to say whoever is closest to the register should go and we’ll all hope for the best.
So my first day back wasn’t the most pleasant experience, even though my first class doesn’t start until tomorrow. I made the day better by going back-to-school shopping: I bought a binder, notebook and super cute tote for me to carry my binder, notebook and book in. I haven’t picked out my first-day-of-school outfit yet, but I have a few items in mind. I feel like a girl of 18 again. Only older, and more uncomfortable being around a bunch of 18-year-olds.