Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Back to School

I didn't realize I would have an "adjustment period" when I finally decided to just bite the bullet and go back to school. I mean, I've been in school before, and I've been working 40 hours. Doing them both together (especially when the schooling is in MUCH smaller quantities than my previous experience) should be easy, right?

Tell that to my boss after I've arrived at work an average of 15 minutes late every day for the last week.

Even though I've been thinking about going back to school for over a year (apparently I have decided that I want to be a veterinarian...better late than never, right?) the actual decision to take classes this semester happened rather quickly. Like, in three days.

Step 1) Finally call IUPUI.
Step 2) Apply/Register for Class/Meet with Advisor the next day.
Step 3) Send my transcript to Purdue to see which credits from Butler transfer to cover my pre-vet requirements
Step 4) Buy my books.

To be fair, I had done a lot of the ground work for these three days in the last year. I had previously spoken to my advisor. I had already contacted Butler and gotten a copy of my transcript. I had researched which classes I needed to take. So that's probably why my application/enrollment process was able to happen so quickly...but still. My life is still reeling.

For example, I now have class on Tuesday and Thursday nights. At first, I thought that merely cancelling all activities that happened weekly on those nights would be enough. Then I just decided to clear out all weekly events. Then I remembered that my book club only meets monthly. On Thursdays. Boo. I wasn't ready to give up EVERYHING. Then I discovered that while volleyball is only on Wednesdays, if I get homework on a Tuesday, and my next class is Thursday....well....

I used to make fun of my friends who went back for their Masters degrees and lost all semblance of a social life. "C'mon," I would cajole, "You can come out with us this ONE night, can't you?"

Now I completely understand the "No."

The first day of class was surreal. On the one hand, my brain was SO excited to be learning again. (Woo Hoo!! You haven't used me for YEARS, Emily! I was beginning to despair!) On the other hand, it's been, oh, about eleven years since my last Chemistry class (cut me some slack! I was a marketing major. We didn't have to take sciences) and while I thouroughly enjoyed my AP Chem class, I was only 18 years old when I took it, and since then...well...apparently those synapses haven't fired. Not once.

It was a humbling experience to be paired up with an 18-year-old and watch while he flew through his workbook problems, and I was still struggling to convert the speed of light from feet per second to meters per second. And how many feet are in a mile again? I wanted to tell my partner that I really wasn't as stupid as my struggling would lead him to believe. Just let me get warmed up and I would prove to be a proficient partner. It just takes longer to get going at this age, someday he would understand. But I didn't have the words.

In the downtime, I did enjoy talking to the 18-year-old. He was so bright eyed and bushy tailed. So happy to be in college. He told me all about his girlfriend back home who was still in high school. He was just so....eighteen. I didn't have the heart to tell him that I expected to hear the breakup story by December. Hell, let life crush him. For now, I'll just enjoy being around someone so young. It's got to rub off somehow, right?

Off I went to my Chemistry lab. I was paired up with two other girls and we had a good time getting to know each other. One girl was working 40 hours a week like me, and only taking night classes. I never got her age, but she couldn't have been much older than 21. The other girl was a full time student - a junior. I was relieved. Okay, so they're not quite as young as my previous experience. The girl who worked full time (Mandy) and I discussed the issues with parking, missing dinner two nights a week, and how long it had been since our last Chemistry lab.

Mandy: "It's been so long since my last Chemistry lab...I'm not sure I remember what all this equipment is called."
Emily: "Don't worry. I'm sure it's been longer since I've had a Chemistry lab. It will all come back to you."
Mandy (pensively): "It's been...hmmm...about a year and a half since my last lab. Can you believe that?" She then looked at me expectantly.

It occurred to me here that she probably thought I was around her age. Sweet! Misguided though she may be, I wasn't quite ready to end that I just responded, "Wow. It has been a while for you."

I'm not proud. I'll take my warm and fuzzy moments where I can get 'em.

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