Life among the Young of Academia or an Old Lady Returns to School

It was a challenge for me to make the decision to return to college classes. I’d been away for too many years. I had to read, digest, learn and decipher information frequently for my job (Vice President of Nursing for a nursing home management company). But would that translate well into the academic world? Would I just be making a fool of myself, thinking I could do it, pitting my brain against ones decades younger and still in the school-learning-classroom mode?

So I put on aged toe in the water. I took one summer course: Graphic Novels. I’m a writer, have been since I received my first rejection at age 12. Graphic novels are gaining importance in the genre I love: horror. I needed to know more about this specific subgenre. I enjoyed the class. I did well in the class. So when I entered the fall semester I was carrying my very first 4.0 at Penn State Berks.

Penn State Berks has the Go-60 Program that allows Pennsylvania residents over 60 to take 2 3-credit courses a semester for free. I only had to pay a nominal tech fee and of course buy my books. Note: college books can still cost mucho. The book for my one course this semester was $107! Yikes! But I know there are texts that cost even more and I know that I could have bought a used copy. But…but…it’s a book. At least that’s what I said when the bookstore clerk asked me if I wanted to rent them. To paraphrase a Greek philosopher whose name escapes me: I spend my money on books and if there’s anything left, the other necessities of life.

And that may be why I decided to take more English classes this semester: Reading Fiction (we started with Young Goodman Brown…love it, of course, with my knowledge of the Witch Trials) and Writing for the Humanities (The Purloined Poe is the beginning text and we’ll move onto The Maltese Falcon, The Big Sleep and In the Name of the Rose). I think I’m in love.

I tell everyone who asks (and many do) that I’m working for my BA in Professional Writing, a degree offered at Penn State Berks. But in my heart I know I’m taking classes in subjects that I love.

I’m a happy girl…er…old lady…er…student.


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