School Days

I began attending two classes at the local Community College recently. As if a doctorate degree isn’t enough. I am an education nerd. I love learning new things. Learning new things keeps me sharp. I am feeding my need for new information in areas I find interesting. My current course load consists of an ecology and environmental science class along with an algebra class, because math and science go hand-in-hand, or so they keep telling me.

Two days a week I have a mid-day class. I am most definitely the oldest person in this class, other than the Professor. Most of the students appear to be right out of high school or early to mid twenties at best. I’ve already sized up the group and made snap judgements about most of those in attendance. Why? Because that’s what you do when you walk into a room full of strangers. You assess the room, the people, and map out the escape routes (Check! Check! Done!)  We have an interesting group. I don’t know their names, but I know the following:

First, there are the two young adults (male and female) who have staked their claim to the end of the table. Four seats and only two of them. They spread their materials all around to ensure no one sits by them. When class begins, and they are certain they won’t have anyone in close proximity to where they are sitting, they clean up their belongings and swap chairs. Their covert operations has been uncovered. I’m certain no one wants to sit by them at this point. The label ashats comes to mind. Their ritual has been entertaining to watch. I’m certain another ashat in the class will also eventually take notice and intentionally interfere and a take seat at their table. I hope I have popcorn on hand that day. Popcorn always pairs well when watching drama unfold.

Second, there is the space cadet. Grace upon grace upon grace for this child. This is the girl who always asks a question the Professor just answered two seconds before. And, she does it EVERY.SINGLE.CLASS. I believe she is most likely paying attention, I’m just not certain what planet she is occupying. It’s not earth. The level of patience the Professor shows this girl sends her straight up the ladder to sainthood in my play book.

Third, there is the young guy who comes straight from the gym. Workout clothes and muscles. Before the first class even began he had already made a beeline to the sweet, naive, shy brunette. If he pushes hard enough she’ll eventually succumb to his charms, and from what I’ve witnessed, he is not one to give up and walk away empty-handed. He’ll eventually break her heart. It’s like watching a real life version of a Harlequin Romance Novel, minus the happily ever after (I’m a bit of a cynic in this area. No fluff. No sugar-coating). I could be wrong, but I’m not. That rarely happens. My mommy instincts want to shout a warning, teach her how to play the game, and leave muscle boy grasping his ego like a lifeline, but it’s a different world, and some lessons you have to learn on your own. She needs to toughen up.

Finally, there is the two young men who sit in the front of the class right in front of the Professor. RIGHT.IN.FRONT. And, I thought I was a nerd? These two have first place ribbons in this category. They’ve both taken classes with this Professor before. They live and breathe this stuff. They keep the Professor engaged and laughing during class. It’s nice to know young people can still succeed in interpersonal relationships and verbal communications without the use of any technological crutch.

Some other observations I’ve made is: tattoos and gauges are cool for scientists. A majority of my classmates have skin art. Tattoos tell stories. I like studying the art and trying to guess how it fits in with their story.

Stocking caps are cool to wear in the heat of the summer. What? I know! I couldn’t believe it either. But, seriously, it’s over 90 degrees and the young men are wearing stocking caps and beanies to class  To each his own, I suppose. Besides, my attire can best be described as corporate mommy wear. I’m certain I’ve gotten an eye roll or two.

Gauges, facial piercings, and long hair on men are also in abundance. I’ve never had a guy ask me if I have an extra hair tie he can borrow, but I am certain this will happen in the near future. Stocking up. Everyone knows that if you need something you’ll find it in mom’s purse. A few of the young men will, no doubt, at some point, need some hair tie or barrettes (Are those still a thing?) to keep their hair out of their face and eyes so they can view the specimens in the microscope.

I’ve mostly learned this is a good group of young people (minus the two ashats, but they’ll grow up eventually). I have witnessed them helping out their classmates. Polite and respectful. They’ve even taken pity on the old chick-a-dee who wasn’t aware that all testing is now graded by scantrons, which requires a pencil to completely fill in the bubble on the answer sheet. One sweet girl loaned me her mechanical pencil since all I carry is blue ink pens.

As you can see, I am learning a lot of new things at the Community College. Staying open and seeing the world through a different set of eyes or perception is probably the most valuable education one can receive. As the Professor says; “Take the time to get to know those around you. You’re sharing the same bathroom facilities for goodness sakes.” Solid advice!

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