Bonding with classmates despite the age gap
By Karen Segal, Contributor
I suspect that I am more concerned with the age gap between my classmates and I than my classmates are. I realize, of course, that thinking about me doesn’t fill up a large part of their daily thoughts.
The Therapeutic Recreation program, from what I have seen so far, seems to attract really caring students. Having spoken to a few who are further along in their diplomas/degrees, this seems to be a hallmark of the program. I have definitely noticed an inclusive vibe. However, I am only taking two classes this this term so bonding opportunities are a bit few and far between for me.
All of that to say that I want to fit in!
Even at my mature student age, I want to belong. I kind of feel like the world’s smallest violin should be playing but bear with me. I have found one or two students in each class that I have gotten to know a bit. In one of the classes, I always sit beside the same person. It’s a small thing but wow, is it helpful—not only for learning, but also from a social perspective.
A few weeks ago, some of us went for a walk around Lafarge Lake after a Wednesday class. I was a bit over the moon about it. I very nearly stopped to take a selfie of all of us and post it to my Facebook page but I held back, wary I might scare them off.
There are age-related differences of course. There is often a lot of exuberance, even early in the morning. Groups are naturally forming and I note a lot of “I love you!” on our TR 2018 Facebook page. I think back to my early 20s and I realize that had there been Facebook back then, I would have also most likely been expressing the same kinds of sentiments.
In my final year of my bachelor’s at Simon Fraser University, I made a great group of friends, some of whom I am still close to 30 years later. I hope this for my young cohorts as well and it seems like they are definitely on track for some lifelong friendships.
There are naturally differences in terms of interests and knowledge of recent history. In one of my classes the instructor is my age-ish. When she references an event in the ancient times of the early ’90s, students look puzzled. I simply nod and know what she is referring to.
So, to wrap up, the overall kindness and openness of many of my fellow students goes a long way in helping me to find a place in this program and in college again. I think finding my group may be easier once I am taking more than two classes and once I am officially in the program.
Finally, this has also been a good place to challenge my own self-admitted youth-phobia. When I see a student roaming the halls who looks to be around my age, I am tempted to run after them. I haven’t yet because, let’s face it, that would be creepy.