My experience going back to school
By Craig Allan, Contributor
Going back to school brings back memories. Some you never expect.
This past semester I returned to school, attending a class in Philosophy. The class contained a lot of content that, admittedly, is not my strong suit. One day, as I sat in class listening to my teacher discuss the points of the recent chapter in what felt like the most monotone voice possible, I grabbed my pencil and began to push my eraser around like a hockey player would handle a puck. Doing this immediately triggered flashbacks to a bygone era: My high school years.
I graduated high school in 2009. My high school years ended around the time when smartphones were just starting to come out. Without these devices to distract us, we had to come up with more creative ways to entertain ourselves. One way that I kept myself amused when faced with a class I had no interest in, or a teacher with no charisma, was creating my own version of stationary hockey. I would handle an eraser puck, back and forth with a stick pencil, and shoot it at an improvised goal net. It was dull, but it entertained me on the slow days.
Over the 10 years after my graduation, I would go through periods of sporadic schooling. Going to school some years, and other years going to work. The back-to-school experience has always been an odd one. Before picking my education back up, I didn’t write anything by hand other than the letters of my name and numbers under 31. Now having to write more, my brain sometimes has trouble keeping it straight. I’d have thoughts like, “Does the line on the letter “P” go on the left or the right?” Other actions like opening and reading an actual book and doing tasks like homework have also struck me as odd from time to time.
Along with this re-adapting comes the fact that my mindset has changed. When I was going to college right after high school, I had very little knowledge of the world. Going to school was the only constant I knew. Now I have a job. That job has brought me money that has allowed me to live a fun life of eating out, travel, and sustainability. With so much now going on in my life with regards to working, focusing on my schooling has caused me some problems. As much as I want to improve myself by going back to school and getting a degree (and work at a job that doesn’t pay minimum wage), I am scared to death at the prospect of going the next three to five years (and let’s face it, likely more than that) with little to no income. These worries are ever more present in my schooling now than they were in the surrounding 2010 Olympic years.
Who knows how persistent these worries are for me? Maybe I will get used to going to school. Maybe I will learn to live a low-income life. Maybe the added time will help me find some hobbies healthier and more enjoyable than just sitting on the couch, eating chips, and watching television. I don’t know any of the answers to these questions. All I know is that after about five years of working two jobs for minimum wage, I am looking forward to the idea of improving myself and getting the skills for a job that is higher than minimum wage. I may have to live on pencil-eraser-hockey for entertainment over the next few years but hopefully the end results will be worth the creatively bankrupt idea of fun I will have to take on.