Trapped

They’re baaaaaaaack….

Today is the first day of new student orientation at the university where I teach. The place is crawling with students and their parents. It is terrifying (summer is really over) and I want nothing more than to go home and pretend that classes do not start in a few days.

I had meetings all morning, and at 2PM, shaking with hunger, I popped in the student center to grab some lunch. Just as I walked in the door, I realized that this place too is packed to the brim with the students and their parents. Just then a huge clap of thunder sounded, as if in direct relation to my emotion. Then it sunk it what the thunder meant — I am trapped in here until the storm stops.

So here I sit, in the midst of all these anxious and nervous families, trying to look like I am doing something important with my laptop. When my parents dropped me off at college I could not wait for them to leave. I hated high school and college to me symbolized freedom: from my old-self, from my school, and from my parents. I went 500+ miles away from home and sometimes even that did not feel far enough away. These kids do not seem to want their parents to leave them (one girl next to me was even crying) and seem hesitant to embark on their newly independent life.

I first started teaching full-time when I was 24, not much older than the upperclass students in my courses. Now I am 32 and I realize I relate more to the parents of these students than the students themselves. There is nothing in the world like 18-year olds and their parents to make you feel mature and responsible.

This is going to be a hard year for these students. They are going to have to grow and change and that is never easy, even if it is for the better. Most of what they learn will occur outside of the classroom — “life lessons” — but I do my part to try and inspire them in the classroom as well.

I wonder what I would say to my 18-year old self. Would I tell myself what to expect? Would I want to know about the heartache and the miscarriages? I would want to tell myself, but at 18-years old I would not want to know what lay ahead. That is how I am trying to approach my life now. Would 40-year old me want to tell me what is coming or is it just better to live life as it comes? I still do not think I want to know the future. It is hard enough dealing with what comes along every day.

In the words of Paul McCartney:

Ob-la-di, ob-la-da, life goes on, rah [or bra or there, depending on what you hear]

La-la how the life goes on.

My song edit:

And on. And on. And on. And on. And on.

Especially when you are trying unsuccessfully to have a baaaaaay-bi-da.

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August 23, 2007. Ramblings.

8 Comments

  1. niobe replied:

    I think you’ve stolen my catchphrase and guiding principle. Life does go on. And on.

    I tend to leave out the oh-la-di, oh-la-da part, though.

  2. babystep replied:

    Mine aren’t back yet – September 13 is the day. I always laugh when they come back because my immediate reaction is “OH, the fucking students are back”. Then I realize that I work on a college campus so I probably really shouldn’t feel that way!!

  3. My Reality replied:

    Life does go on and on and on and on.

    I think I would have wanted to know what I was going to deal with I was 18. It would have changed how I did a few things, especially with trying to have a baby. But, I guess that is why they say hindsight is always 20/20.

  4. Amy R replied:

    If I could talk to myself at 18, I would tell her to enjoy it now and quit being so darn insecure. And to save $ early and buy a house in the Bay Area! 🙂

  5. Julia replied:

    I am not teaching this fall. I think I might not be in fit state to deal with the 18 year olds right now, so it’s a good thing in the end.

  6. Rachel replied:

    I work on a university campus too, it is weird when the students come back. I LOVE the activity on campus, but I hate the activity around campus. Walking to my building and driving to campus has become crazy!

    As for whether or not I would want to know about my heartache in advance, definetly not. Then I would just worry until it happened.

    Good luck with the semester!

  7. dolly replied:

    Something about reading this made me think of a book that you might enjoy.

    It might be kind of sad (a large portion of time is spent with the couple trying and trying to maintain many pregnancies). It is fiction, and a bit sci-fi-ish, but I’ve read it 4 times in 3 years.

    The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger

    Oh, I know, it was the whole “would I tell myself..” that made me think of it.

    Anyway. HI, I’ve enjoyed reading your blog, well enjoyed is the wrong word, but well.. you know.

  8. babystep replied:

    Ah yes, the Time Traveler’s Wife. That was an awesome book. I highly recommend too.

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