The Thing About Going Back to College…

I’m back in college and things are going well.

Well, they’re going okay.

Actually, I’m panicking because I DON’T UNDERSTAND what my professor WANTS and he won’t ANSWER MY EMAILS and DOESN’T CARE. At least sometimes that’s how it feels.

There it is. I remember feeling this way. Sigh. From one extreme to the other and back again. Several times weekly.

Welcome to the roller coaster ride that is my college life. I didn’t go away to college right after high school, so I don’t know how it hits 18-20 year olds. As a 50-something, it’s a different “THING”. I am making choices between things I like and want to do, and school. We may be Empty Nesters, but we aren’t free like we were when the last kids moved out. College comes first. Vacations and nights out have to be planned around quarter breaks. I’m doing school online, but who wants to spend a week in Mexico tied to a laptop, trying to get an assignment turned in on time? My husband told me last night, “This time, you WILL finish your degree.” This means that he also accepts our limited free time.

My degree. A Bachelor of Science in Healthcare Administration is what I’m going for. My current classes are Healthcare Administration (the basic introductory course) and Cultural Competence and Communication for Healthcare Professionals. My Admin class isn’t hard. The teacher grades easily, the assignments aren’t over the top complicated, and it’s been interesting. My Communication class is a different story. It is interesting! I am learning a lot about diversity, equity, and inclusion. I’m learning about microaggressions and racism and the divide between the haves and the have-nots when it comes to healthcare access. But this teacher has big, in-depth assignments, and it seems like there’s never enough time to complete them. I haven’t turned anything in late yet, but I have turned in a couple of assignments that could have been better if I’d had more time.

Some of what I’m learning has been shocking. I had no idea. But growing up lower-middle class and white, how could I? In a way, I feel like this class is an intense extension of the education and growth that I have been doing since I left the church. Cultural communication as a class is like a crash course in all the ways we have blown it in America, and the ways it is affecting people of color from all ethnicities in our country. This class, as well as the Astronomy class I took two years ago at the community college, have educated me and opened my eyes to the best information for Christian deconstruction I can imagine. The Church certainly doesn’t teach these things.

This is what we do, right? We learn and grow. We learn to do better. We overcome the negative crap and absolute misinformation we were taught, and we start again. Re-education can happen with or without going to college, but it has helped me.

I survived my first quarter of University. I submitted my final paper in my Cultural Communication class this afternoon. The roller coaster ride has only begun, I’m sure, but I can do it.

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