What a surreal experience – Orientation Day.
I showed up bright and early – because that’s the way I am. I sat in an almost completely silent student centre, having a cup of hot water with brown grit in it, waiting for 845am, then went to the muster point and signed in. They were all ready for me – with a name tag so I would know who I am. They were very friendly, and very professional – the volunteers of the student success centre.
I took a seat in the auditorium, and this was the surreal part. I saw a couple of older folks – grey hair, etc – and determined to sit with them. It made sense to me – I presumed that they were also mature students and being older we would have a common social ground on which to meet.
Nope. They were parents of one of the other students going through orientation. We chatted a while – got along rather well, in fact – but all the while I was talking to them I was thinking, good lord, I’m more than twice as old as every other student in here! I think that’s when it sunk in how very mature I will need to be for this adventure, and how hopeful I am that being so mature won’t create a rift between me and the other students in my classes – I mean a rift larger than that already created by age.
I’m no ageist. I don’t see any barriers whatsoever to people of different generations getting along and working well together, but I can see now that this enlightened philosophy will be sorely tested in my new environment. Over the next two years I’m going to learn more about the modern young person than I ever realized I wanted to know.