Apparently Patience Is Not My Virtue…Yet
If anyone has been waiting with bated breath for me to blog about my inaugural day of class, well then wait no more. But first let me ask for forgiveness for the elongated silence. Right after my first class on Saturday, I packed up the Honda Element and headed out on a mini vacation – – a long weekend to the beautiful state of Vermont. I unplugged from work, cell phones, and yes even computers for four days. It was a laughter and wine filled Labor Day weekend with four couples that played out as a cross between “The Big Chill” and “Why Did I Get Married Too” (but without the drama from either blockbuster movie!).
Since returning, I have been struggling with what to say about my first day of class. During the 3 hour trek from Connecticut to Vermont on a surprisingly uncongested but seemingly unending stretch of Interstate 91, I weighed the pros and cons of day one as a returning undergrad. I tossed around what the right things to say should be and more importantly what might be the wrong thing. After all, my mother could read this blog, or scarier still, some of the very classmates I might want to vent about, could read this one day. It would be inappropriate to share with the entire, inter-web my unfiltered thoughts about that first day of class. PERHAPS, I had considered throwing my #2 pre-sharpened pencils in a machete like fashion at the backs of the heads of some of the, shall we say, chattier students, or perhaps I was less than motivated with the sweet but dare I say too-easy teaching style of our professor. Like I said, PERHAPS, I thought these things. I will neither confirm nor deny and if questioned will refer back to the capitalized word PERHAPS. In either event, in deference to my mother and to my classmates, who PERHAPS may have wanted to bean me in the back of the head with their Bic pen caps, I will exercise a quality that I freely admit is not my strong-suit, Patience.
Going into any new experience where you no longer have control of the situation is a challenge. Truth moment about me – – – I don’t like new people. Seems odd to say, but anyone who knows me knows that even though I am a friendly and pretty personable, outgoing person, I generally don’t take well to meeting new people in established settings. I’ve learned after some self reflection that the reason is because I don’t know what sort of change new people may bring to my world that I possibly can’t control. New people in new settings are the perfect storm for me to implode with frustration and impatience. So picture me a little bubbling lava pot in a classroom, first thing in the morning (PS – I also hate mornings) with 26 new students and teachers who I will be stuck with for months. I had no idea whether or not the people who were gathered around me, some writing feverishly in notebooks as if their very lives depended on it and some staring vapidly out the windows without a care in the world, would turn out to be snobby, scholarly intellects that looked down on me or silly, vapid chuckle heads who take up class time with meaningless chatter. As the class wore on, I found myself assessing everyone and at times getting very frustrated. I packed up my bags when the professor dismissed us and promptly jumped on my cell phone. As I strode across the college green, I unleashed a barrage of “do you know what he said”, and “you can’t believe what she did” to my one of my besties. After coming up for air, I let go of my first day frustrations and jumped on the highway to my vacation escape.
What I came to realize however as I traveled from one laid back Vermont country store and tag sale to another was that I had actually learned my first real lesson from going back to college. I had secretly believed that going back to school could teach me very little that I really needed. After all, I have been living and succeeding in the “real world” as an adult for over 25 years so there couldn’t be much that college could give me other than a diploma. I was wrong, it was giving me an opportunity to work on something besides rudimentary algebraic problem solving; it was giving me the ability to work on me.
First lesson I learned going back to school…I can’t control every situation and I need to find the patience to deal with and at times embrace new people and new things and roll with it. I will likely not become a mathematician during this Math 1020Q course, but I will learn about being patient, being humble and being content with the knowledge that everyone from the snobs to the chuckle heads and everyone in between has the right to be here and I need to get over myself and just deal.