First Thoughts On Being A University Student

The Duck Pond was frozen over on the first day of school at UNM.
The Duck Pond was frozen over on the first day of school at UNM.

I am currently a student at the University of New Mexico.  It is my first semester at a civilian college since 1996.  I know it’s been quite a long time, but I have this thing called a GI Bill from serving in the Navy, and I always wanted to finish college.  It’s a good thing to finish what one begins, which I have a horrible habit of not doing.  It would be like going to the kitchen with the intention of making a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.  You get the required items out and onto the counter and look at your array of bread, peanut butter and jelly, and then shouting, “Fuck it!”, and proceed to heap fistfuls of peanut butter into your face.

That’s me in a nutshell on many things.  I’ve started two different books from two different genres and never finished.  Although, I recently set about to finish one of them and go from there.  So in my spare time, I’ve been writing a contemorary adventure story.  I’ll get more into that another time.

As someone in his mid-thirties, I noticed some key differences between college in 1996 and now.  First, of course, is that I have a few more grey hairs.  I was mistaken for an instructor once, hehe.  Most of the student body here are in their late teens or early twenties; young enough to make me sometimes feel older than Albert Einstein riding on the back of a T-Rex.  Once, during a group assignment in my English 101 class, I mentioned something that had happened in the 1980s, and the group gave me blank looks.

“Do you guys remember the 80s?” I asked, momentarily forgetting how young they were.

“I wasn’t born yet.” replied one guy.

It feels wierd sometimes that most of my fellow students in most of my classes were in the second or third grade when 9-11 happened.  I had been a student at the Defense Language Institute (the military’s language school) for a year at that point.  In fact, in my English 101 class, I believe I’m the oldest guy in the room to include the instructor.  At least with me being older, it gives me a little more experience in writing and grammar, which has made the class probably easier for me than some of the others.

One major difference between college classrooms now and seventeen years ago is technology.  In 1996, students only brought notebooks and tape recorders to class with them.  Today, in both of my science classes for example, half of the kids in there have laptops, iPads, iPhones, iMainframes, iTypewriters, an iTardis, and one or two rolls of parchment.  I would say that at least 95% of them are using their gadgets for school purposes.  I see most of them with a word processing document of some sort and are taking notes and others have class materials for the lecture posted on UNM’s website by the professors.  There is that 5% though that I routinely see using their iPads or whatever to browse Facebook, Reddit, or play video games.

I saw a kid playing playing video games in the middle of class.  In my political science class, there is a girl that usually sits near me and spends most of each class on Facebook or shopping.  After our first exam, she complained that the essay portion of it was really hard for her.  Well, all I can say is…DERP!!!  I think it’s obvious that these 5% are having their tuition paid for by their parents.

Not to brag or anything, but I just use a notebook and pen and I’m getting good grades.  I pay attention in class, take notes, read the book, and study.  So, I’m getting As.  It’s rather simple to understand.  If you try, pay attention, study, you’ll most likely do well in school.  It’s kinda like trying to lose weight.  So many people use so much energy on a fad diet or gimmick excercise equipment, like a Glutiuous Maximum Pubic Lard Trimmer 5000 that costs about as much as NASA’s budget instead of doing the one and only thing that actually works.  It’s working for me.  Would you like to know this “not a secret” that everyone knows deep down inside?  Just eat healthy and excercise.

With all that being said, I’m enjoying my time so far as a student.  UNM is a good campus and they are very accomadating for veterans.  They also have a wide array of classes available.  Always a good thing.

Well, I’ve rambled enough for now.  I’ll return later.  I’m off to the gym in a bit.

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