Life is challenging as an unconventional college senior


For a 53-year-old undergrad, technology is harder than it looks.

My biggest obstacle in college is social media or anything to do with using a computer. This struggle sounds unique coming from a college student, but I am not your average co-ed here at Chaminade.

I am a 53-year-old college senior who is working on her second bachelor’s degree. With computers, I just know the basics, and that’s typing my papers out on Microsoft Word.

I often feel out of place, uncertain and overwhelmed in a classroom that is filled with teenagers who could be my grandchild. But I’ve stuck with it and will be getting my bachelor’s in May 2015.

I don’t spend countless hours in front the computer for the latest update submission to Facebook’s news feed. I wasn’t in line when they gave out instructions for this new craze technology.

When I was a student in college the first time around 34 years ago, I didn’t have the luxury of modern technology. I remember a huge Mac machine in the library but never used it. The way to go was handwriting your assignments or, if you were lucky, your roommate did it for you because her handwriting was better.

Now I sit in a classroom filled with undergraduate students and their social media devices going off every two seconds. My first time around in a college classroom, anything that ticked or made noise was the colossal clock above the doorway that lets us know that class was either starting or ending.

As I look around the classroom, I have albums older then some of my classmates. In fact, I’m older than some of their parents and faculty as well.

My experiences in the classroom as a non-traditional college student are daunting to say the least. At times I don’t speak up because I don’t want to look or feel stupid. Or have some 20-something years old say something to me or think, “Why is she here.”

I’m here because I earned the right to be here, I served in the U.S. Army for nearly nine years when you were in elementary schools across the country having lunch and recess.

A traditional student is between the ages of 18-24 in college, and I triple them in age. The only thing that was traditional for me back in the ’80s were my three pairs of Levi Strauss & Co. Dungarees that were rough and rugged. I can’t help it if I have lived my life already and now I’m on the downward slide of being called a senior citizen. Are there any experiences and education barriers that keep me a part from all these techie babies? I’m considered a Baby Boomer born between the years of 1946-1964, during the time of post World War II.

During my time, things like optimism, achievement and exploring mattered. The Black Panther Party, Civil Rights movement, Equal Opportunity and assassinations of key political leaders were the crises of the country. Now, these techie babies born into an era of complete technology and they don’t know life without it. This Generation Z that’s sweeping the country was born in the ’90s are growing in numbers and are very influential. They can email, text, and use the computer with speed and accuracy without any problems.

Behind this massive entity of modern technology, I sit with trepidation of not fitting in. I can’t keep up, and I don’t understand the logic behind it. My anxiety deepens as I try to navigate my motor skills through social media or any computer work for class. I’m overwhelmed that my world collides with their world of instant gratification.

Yet, I still remain focus on overcoming my fears of modern technology, and the sweaty palms I get each time I have to do an assignment. This Boston  girl will never give up  and my fortitude will remain strong. I have accomplished so much  in such a short period of time, I am not ready to give up. My perseverance and pursuit of technology will continue to flourish. The light at the end of the tunnel is bright, I just hope my brain comes along for the ride.

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