Old Dogs, New Tricks

A blog for non-traditional students

‘Tis the Season

Finally, the end of the quarter is in sight – I’m looking forward to being able to take a breather from the non-stop work I’ve had this fall.  And who doesn’t look forward to the holidays – family, food, presents… Of course, that’s the downside too, especially for we student parents – where do we get the money in this nutty economy to put some boxes of fun under our trees for the little ones?

 I’ve been desperately trying to avoid thinking about this, but with the biggest shopping day of the year less than a week away, I’m out of time.  A shaky economy does have it’s perks – like a tank of gas for less than $15 – but it makes me wonder if it wouldn’t be better to skip the brightly colored baubles and instead stick my money in my mattress or some equally crafty financial plan.  I feel guilty spending $10 on a prescription – what will it be like if I drop $50 on a video game?

 I’ll admit this may be ageism on my part, but I don’t think that most of my traditional peers comprehend how scary this whole economic turmoil is.  Maybe it’s just because they didn’t grow up with grandparents who could remember in detail what it was like to live during the Great Depression – I feel like we more mature learners have a better grasp on the potential disaster that could be coming.  Of course, I’m not exactly an economist so maybe I’m blowing the whole thing out of proportion. 

 I know that one area of common ground I share with my younger classmates is the fear of what this will mean for my future employment opportunities.  Although it will depress some of my professors, the primary reason I came back to school was to get that prized piece of parchment that’s the key to more profitable employment.  Now I’m left to wonder if I’ll end up having to go back into the dreaded fields of retail and hospitality – that fancy term for restaurants and hotels. The horror!

 Compounding my fears for the future, my journalism professors are becoming obsessed with “informing” us about the straits of magazines and newspapers.  They say they don’t want to discourage us from continuing on in our chosen field, but they want us to be aware of what we’ll be facing.  All we hear is “The sky is falling! The sky is falling!”  I’m sure other majors aren’t faring much better.

 In the end, I really think the non-trads feel the pressure of the wonky economic twists and turns more than our younger peers.  We already shoulder a lot of the burdens that college is preparing them for, so, while the current crisis might make them worry about the future, we old farts don’t have the luxury of thinking that far down the road.  The potential troubles they might see down the road are knocking on our doors now – so we have the added “fun” of coping with finals and trying to parce out our measly cash reserves for Christmas shopping and our utility bills.

*** Danielle

January 10, 2009 - Posted by | Maturity, Student Life

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