Old Dogs, New Tricks

A blog for non-traditional students

Working Vacation

I have to stop apologizing for my extended absences – maybe by not having them.  Fall quarter ramped up during the last three weeks and I ended up working on projects every day for ten hours at minimum and barely made my deadlines.  I’m truly beginning to appreciate the difference in being a senior from previous years – turns out higher level classes involve a lot more work than I remember. 🙂

Speaking of work, here I sit during my winter break posting to this blog – as a way of avoiding doing work around my house.  I passed up the annual family trip to Florida with my parents and son, in theory because someone had to take care of our pets – can you board goldfish?  In actuality, I stayed here to a) enjoy the solitude of a house without my mother barking orders or my son popping his head into my room every fifteen minutes to tell me he’s bored and b) to catch up on all the household chores that I had to ignore this past quarter.

So far, I’ve mostly tried to relax and played a lot of video games, but I have managed to get my own laundry done, unpacked a few boxes from the recent clearing of my storage unit and even do a little homework – yeah, that’s right, I’ve got so much reading for the next quarter that I needed to start during my supposed vacation.  Here’s the thing that very few traditional students can truly appreciate about being an older student with family obligations and homes to take care of:  The world doesn’t bend to your needs simply because you’re busy and have other obligations.

So while my younger classmates are winging off to family vacations or traveling to Miami to root for our Bearcats (more on that later), I’m at home trying to simultaneously relax and catch up on three months worth of chores AND get started on homework for next quarter.  Part of what I’m doing during these three weeks isn’t just for me – my son’s bedroom is beginning to overflow with stuff because he has boxes of school papers going all the way back to first grade; he’s in fifth now.  The remnants of my former domestic life are no longer costing me $80 a month; instead they are cluttering up my parents’ already-full garage. 

I consider my awareness of the impact of my actions on other people as a sign of maturity; four years ago, I probably would have felt picked on if someone fussed at me for inconveniencing them.  I freely confess that I retained my youthful obliviousness of the needs of others well past the time when it was age-appropriate.  So when I see signs of this “me, me, me” attitude in my younger peers, I both empathize and worry for them. 

One thing that has surprised me about these youngins is how often they really put forth the effort for assignments in classes that they view as important.  While it would be great if they appreciated the importance of all their classes, I actually think it’s admirable that they increase the amount of energy they expend on something other than partying and text-messaging each other.  Maybe that’s a sign of impending maturity in them – maybe five years from now, they’ll be forgoing some long-awaited vacation in order to fulfill their responsibilities.  Hey, a mom can dream right?  After all, I view my younger classmates as a window into the future for my own child, and any indication that they aren’t complete hedonists makes me feel a little better about sending my boy off to college someday.

*** Danielle

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January 10, 2009 - Posted by | Generation Gap, Maturity

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