Friday, August 25, 2017

Hanging Out On Campus: Observations and thoughts from an outsider.

I am spending time on a college campus this semester.  No, I didn't go back to college (student loan debt for a 45 year old when you have two kids in college seems like a bad idea financially) and no I am not teaching.  I doubt they need someone to teach them sarcasm and that is really all I have a masters degree in.  What it is, is that my kids do not have cars.  We can (barely) afford college.  Cars are a luxury.  They will have to save to buy their own cars or we will have to be blessed by a generous benefactor such as the State Lotto or the Powerball.  We don't actually play all that often so our chances are probably even slimmer than those that play every week.  We also don't have any family members/friends who have  won the lotto or who have become so wealthy that they are running out of things to do with their money so they have decided to go down a list of family members and secretly pay off all their bills and roll up with vehicles with red bows.  If we as humans didn't need to eat every day and were trying to eat more healthy we might be able to scrounge up some extra for luxuries like cars for all drivers in the house.  But I digress...

I am spending time on campus waiting for my middle child to finish her classes for the day four days a week.  We live just far enough away from campus that it isn't worth the gas spent to go home and then have to return to pick her up and then go back home again.  We're trying to save money not burn through it even faster. So here I sit at a table in the student center watching kids come in and out and trying to behave and not go to the cafeteria and get overpriced snacks and drinks. I say that as I realize I forgot to bring my cup of water today.  Well that shoots that....ok I'm trying not to buy overpriced snacks because I have to already buy overpriced water.  I also spend time staring at blank pages and looking at works that have been started and trying to find inspiration as to where to go next with them.  Continuing this form of tortuous release feels like an exercise in futility and yet this is what I keep coming back to.  I have a healthy fear of both stopping and continuing.

The kids look at me like their mother just showed up to make sure they are being kind, respectful, and doing their work. They also tend to look at me like, "she doesn't even go here!"  I feel like an imposter and perhaps I am. It isn't an unfamiliar feeling for me.  I often feel like an imposter, as if I don't belong, I don't quite fit in no matter how hard I try. One of these doesn't belong and usually it is me. 

I'm plugged in which is how I normally write.  I am listening to Pandora because I can't figure out how to get free music on my Motorola and I can't figure out how to get iTunes to work on my computer because apparently it is downloaded onto too many computers for one account and must somehow be deleted from computers we no longer use.  Don't look at me like that.  I know!  It's things like this that show my age and are probably why I am not precisely "successful" in life. I grew up using a typewriter. Computers were just becoming a big deal in college for writing papers and most didn't even how printers they had floppy discs. I got married right out of college and got pregnant right after that.  My 'business' has been raising a family and I never did need a spreadsheet for that. I rarely even have a grocery list and tend to wing it.

I'm actually just winging life to be completely honest with you, never quite specializing in any one thing and never quite finding success in any of them either.  I'm not even sure I'm doing my makeup right when I take the time to put it on.  I go to the store if I run out of something and they have all these products I don't even understand what they are for. What is this bronzer stuff?  Why do we need that?  Go outside. You can get bronze from the sun for free?  Don't tell me it's for the winter, why do you need to be bronze in the winter unless you live in the south in which case....Go. Outside. Bronzers and highlighters and cc cream and bb creams.  The alphabet didn't used to come into play with makeup. I saw blue lipstick and green lipstick?  What is that about?  Halloween much?  I might look a little too natural at this point.

I still haven't figured out the dress code here either.  It is still getting into the upper 80's and 90's here and there are people in jeans and sweatshirts.  What's that about?  It's not ever going to get particularly cold here aside from those two weeks around February, but who cares I like the feeling of sweat running down my back? Don't get me wrong, I am all about bringing a sweater or sweatshirt for going inside cold places but can you say heat stroke when you walk outside?  I don't get it.  This is why I feel like I stick out like a sore thumb while here.  Although to be honest it is probably my own insecurity as I'm rarely noticed while I'm here.  Of course, that thinking could be my own delusions too.  I try to dress in a respectful yet stylish and cool way for a college campus while here.  I'm not sure I'm succeeding though because apparently the dress code is more grunge or athletic with only a few dressing the way I seem to think kids dress.

I wonder about these kids/young adults.  I'm curious if they realize how amazing they are just for being here.  I wonder if they get the blessing it is, how at one time college campuses were not quite so busy a place.  I hope they feel strong, and smart, and that they see all of the possibilities the world can hold for them.  Just as I wish those things for my own children.  I hope that they don't worry so much about what other people think. I think that is where we have gotten lost today.  So many are looking for approval from others for who they are.  Don't do that.  Be who you are.  Keep seeking to find out who that is and what that means for you.  It is OK to be weird. I'm kind of weird. and it works for me. Never stop learning, exploring, dreaming and seeking counsel from God who is really all that matters anyway. Don't let others set your pace because they aren't the one's running your race. While I'm on my soapbox dreaming of the future generation I'd also like to say that it is perfectly OK to sing along with the music in department stores or restaurants.  They want you to or they wouldn't play good music.  I would also like to say that if I happen to look in your direction, I'm probably lost in thought and not actually really focused on you at all. 

So that is how I came to be sitting on a college campus and not getting paid for it and not taking any classes.  It's a nice campus and the food here is top notch.  The offerings here really are amazing.  These kids have access to sushi and power bowls and a salad bar.  It's like club med in this cafeteria...not that I have ever been to club med and actually club med probably has people to bring you food and rub your shoulders if you look tense like me and have to remind yourself to relax your shoulders.  I don't know.  My expectations are usually off.  I once went to a country club in my home town for my husband's reunion and it was not nearly as fancy as I had built it up in my mind. I've digressed's the hunger and the fact I'm 98% parched her.  Until next time....

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