First Day of School

First day, first day back in class since 1980: Cognitive Science 101, “Language and Mind.” Despite Thom’s assurances that I might see at least one other gray head in the classroom, everyone else here seems to be honest-to-goodness first go-round undergrads. But since I can sit here and blog, I am not self-conscious (hey, you couldn’t do that the last time I was on campus). [Later: On mature reflection, and to set the record straight, what Thom was telling me when I shared my pre-first-day butterflies with him yesterday was that many of his classes at the University of Oregon have included one person my age or older; he didn’t imply that I’d have any other fogies as company, just that my appearance among students born just before or during the first Bush administration wouldn’t be as freakish as I assumed.]

This first class — it’s 11:08 11:13 11:18 and still no instructor — is something of a crapshoot. I’m waitlisted for it. The classroom is a good-sized one in Cory Hall, in the ever-expanding electrical engineering/computer science quadrant of the campus. The hall seats maybe 200 people. It’s packed. A quarter-hour in and people are still arriving.

(At the same time, I have another potential class happening, a Property and Law lecture, about a five-minute walk away. Right now, Cognitive Science 101 is becoming an exercise in waiting–how long till people just start to bail and go to whatever else they might have to do. Right now, I’d call my first day back an anti-climax.).

[Update: Instructor showed at 11:22, saying that unbeknownst to her, her room assignment had been changed. My education has begun!]

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9 Replies to “First Day of School”

  1. Good luck. I’m not sure I’d want to go back to school.
    Though I did start an MBA about 10 years ago before family/work responsibilities ate up all my free time. I remember sitting in the room getting ready to take the GMAT before I had been accepted into a program. I was the old dog waiting to take the test along with all these young people. I remember thinking “I’ll just do my best. If it works out, great. But if not, I’ve still got a job and a life. I’ll just do something else.” For everyone else in the room, succeeding on that test was a do-or-die event. Getting into the B-school of their dreams hinged on succeeding on that test. They were all under intense pressure to do well.
    It was a very liberating moment for me.
    K-

  2. When I was in school—with many gray heads I might add–there was a on-going debate about how long we had to wait for an instructor to arrive. The consensus was that one waited 20 minutes for a Ph.D and 15 minutes for a lowly masters level instructor.

  3. When I was in school—with many gray heads I might add–there was a on-going debate about how long we had to wait for an instructor to arrive. The consensus was that one waited 20 minutes for a Ph.D and 15 minutes for a lowly masters level instructor.

  4. When I was at Berkeley a few years ago it was the fifteen minute rule. Of course people weren’t too hard to convince that waiting out 15 minutes wasn’t worth it. It all depended on whether attendance was part of the grade or not (for the most part not). I had one friend who made it through without attending more than 50% of the time.
    Congrats on starting to finish 🙂

  5. Eamon, Rob, K-, judy, Annie … thanks! I wasn’t going to walk out of my first class in 27 years without being sure that no one was coming. Although the exodus had started by the time the professor came hurrying in.
    I feel lucky to be where I am, really. Although that won’t stop me complaining. Stay tuned.

  6. Gosh, makes me wish to be back in the classroom myself, just not in front of the students. The idea makes me giddy! I can only imagine you are going love (some of) it, hang on to those parts and kick butt. 1980, I was five years out of high school and 15 from my undergraduate degree, didn’t have the grays yet, but had less than most.
    Enjoy, enjoy and have fun!

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