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Thanks for visiting Tinfoil Magnolia, a blog about my life, times, marriage, friendships and all the strange things that happen to me and with me. I hope you find something here that will encourage you, inspire you or at the least entertain you. And if it doesn't today, check back tomorrow because, my life? honestly...

Tuesday, January 25

School Day Blues

Well, today I took my place as one of the world's oldest living undergraduates. Once again I am returning to academia, this time to finish my bachelor's degree. I am attending Western Kentucky University, which is located about 30 minutes from where I live. It is alma mater to the majority of my high school classmates, and now their children I am sorry to say, as well as that of both my husband and friend Amy.

If you aren't familiar with WKU, they are the Hilltoppers and they have that name for a very good reason. The campus is built in a series of peaks and valleys which require serious climbing to get from one building to the next. As a friend of ours pointed out, the possibility truly exists that in getting from point A to point B you would literally have an uphill walk in both directions.

I stressed over the weekend, mainly about parking. Western is infamous for lack of parking in certain areas of campus. One of which is where my class is located. Additionally, being the master procrastinator that I am, I had neglected to have an ID made or to obtain a parking pass so I wasn't sure what I would do. What can I say, I live life on the edge.

The building where the class was located is at the tip top of the Hill. No matter which direction you are coming from, it will be an uphill walk. Now, I have been trying for months to get myself in shape with yoga and water exercise, but I knew that this walk would kick my butt. And it did. I lucked up on street parking about 1½ blocks downhill from Cherry Hall. After huffing and puffing my way up that street I then had approximately a 2 block walk across to the building which was also at a slight incline. By the time I reached the building I thought my lungs would explode and I couldn't stop coughing from inhaling the cold air. I was trying to conceal from the youngsters that I was having trouble catching my breath, lest they feel the need to call an ambulance for Grandma here.

My lungs were burning, my head was pounding, I thought I might pass out. I found a bench inside the building and sat gasping for breath until my pulse slowed to an acceptable level. I am wondering to myself how many trips up the hill it will take before I become conditioned to this. Also, I am looking forward to the toned condition of my butt and thighs from doing this three times a week.

When I finally get my heart rate and breathing to an acceptable level I try to figure out where my classroom is and I realize that I am in a 4 story building. “Oh, god, if I have to climb stairs I am not going to make it.” I think, digging in my bag for the schedule. It says classroom number 0004, which makes no sense when looking at the room numbers on the first floor, 134, 101, etc. Finally, I gather my belongings and trudge into the nearest office, HQ for the English department, pausing before entering to once again attempt control over my breathing by sheer force of will. As I step in two student workers are on to me immediately, staring and asking “Can we help you?” They probably meant, “by calling a doctor” but I asked quickly “where …..*pant, pant* would I find, ….. *pant, pant* room 4?” After giving each other one of those looks like “do you believe this?” complete with eye roll from the girl, the guy says “um, it's downstairs??” in the most sarcastic tone possible. Thank goodness! I think I can manage DOWN the stairs without passing out.

Aside from being locked into our first-day seat choices by an immediate and permanent seating chart, things went pretty smoothly and I thus secured my back corner seat for the remainder of the semester. The professor seems pretty cool, despite having a serious and quite disgusting cold which was evident in her hocking phleghm every 10 minutes. But she did use the word “dude” in a sentence immediately and also the word “hellacious” in the context of “I asked the dude who runs the bookstore to make sure he has plenty of “used” copies because these textbooks are hellacious.” Nice. So, first day, syllabus, homework review, seating chart, we're out of there. I am for sure the ONLY person over the age of 25 and I may possibly be older than the professor. How I am going to do in this class remains to be seen.

Scene 1 from the first day of class:
My professor: "This class is hard. If you are good at math, it will be easy for you. It uses the same part of the brain for processing. If you are good at something like interpreting novels, it will probably be harder for you."

Me (in my head): "Wait...this IS an English class, right?" Me (out loud): I am in so much trouble."

Blonde sorority girl in front of me: *snicker* (is it possible I said both out loud?) She and the girl next to her turn to give me an appraising glance for my sarcasm. I may have just scored points with them.

Here I am, 43 and still trying to fit in with the other kids. Honestly....


  1. You've got a lot of courage. I admire you.

  2. congrats on going back to school. You'll be in shape in no time! And (I should add) soooo smarticle (granddaughter's word)

  3. LOL! Smarticle. I love that.

    Lori, I am not sure if it's courage or avoidance that has me in class, but we'll see I guess. Some days I feel that at my age I am avoiding a career rather than planning for one.