Mature student.

Wednesday, October 15th, 2003

Ah, school. What can I say about school? I love school! I was really bummed out when my first class ended last week; we spent a lot of time on introductory stuff so we didn’t get to do a lot of actual linguistics, and I was itching to get down to the nitty-gritty. So it was with great eagerness that I hopped on the bus this morning to get to the university for the second class of the term.

My second class didn’t disappoint either. Maybe I’m crazy, maybe the novelty just hasn’t worn off yet, or maybe I’ve finally found my calling - whatever the case, we spent three hours discussing phonetics today and I loved every minute of it.

It helps that my classmates and my lecturer are really great. There are only ten of us all together, all women (just like college was the first time around!) and all from entirely different countries - everywhere from Malta to Taiwan. It’s fabulous to have that kind of linguistic diversity in a class like this.

It’s also fabulous that everyone is very open and enthusiastic. The atmosphere in the class is very different from the atmosphere I used to find in German classes. Here, there’s much more of a feeling of “we’re all in this together”. I don’t know where that comes from, really. Maybe it’s just a product of the fact that we’re all somewhat older than the average new postgrad and almost all of us have already had some professional experience (teaching, for the most part), so we’re approaching this course not just as a means to an end (i.e., a job) but as a means of - well, personal enrichment and fulfillment, I guess. That’s my reason for doing all of this, anyway.

And speaking of age: I suppose I was a bit apprehensive about being a 30-year-old on a campus full of students a decade younger than me, but so far it hasn’t been too weird. My class is a little oasis of “maturity”, actually, so I tend to forget about the age difference until I venture out on campus and see what the rest of the university is really like.

The funny thing is, I don’t necessarily feel any older than all those 20-year-olds. And because I don’t feel any older, I think I’ve harbored the delusion that I don’t look any older either - until today, that is. Today was “student discount day” in Borders, so I duly went along and purchased two books on linguistics that I’ve wanted to read for a while (The Power of Babel and Vanishing Voices) and one book for pure escapism (Quicksilver - in gigantic hardback format no less). I proudly presented my brand new student ID for the 20% discount, and it wasn’t until I was out of the store that I looked at my receipt and noticed that I was given the 20% TEACHER discount.

Now, maybe they only had one discount button on the cash register, so everyone’s discount came up as a teacher discount - and maybe not. In any case, I felt a tiny bit deflated after that - but only for a moment. There’s nothing like going home with three brand-spanking-new, teacher-discounted books to lift one’s spirits PDQ.


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