It wasn’t so long ago that an 18 year old me sat in the back of the lecture theatre laughing at, mocking and becoming insanely irritated by the ‘mature age’ students in our course. Come on, you know the ones……..
I hated the way they would turn up to classes twenty minutes early so they wouldn’t miss out on the seats in the front row. What was it that they constantly scribbled down on their lecture pads? If the lecturer had of farted, I was sure they would’ve included that in their notes. I wanted to let them into our little secret….that no one else was competing for their seat, we were all quite happy to be at the back where we could avoid the disapproving glares of the lecturers as we caught up on what had happened at the pub on Saturday night. Some also avoided the front row as the alcohol from the Sunday Session was still steaming and escaping from every open pore. Bourbon anyone?
It didn’t matter which class you were in, there was sure to be an annoying mature age pest amongst a sea of irresponsible teenagers wearing Pearl Jam and Tool t-shirts. Why was is that while we were all watching the clock, counting down the seconds before we could escape, ‘they’ had been saving the dumbest question known to mankind to ask 2 minutes before home time ? ‘ Shut up! Shut Up!!!! I would scream (in my head). We know you’re old, yeah you’ve been around for a while, but it doesn’t make you any more qualified than the rest of us. Who cares about how to do the assessment, It’s not due for another two years!! They were always so ‘over eager’ and organized and to be honest, absolute annoying pests! They would also enjoy boring the rest of the class with mundane, irrelevant stories about their families or children. What the hell does that have to do with your ability to teach science? SHUT UP, WE DON’T CARE!!!!!
I also thought they received undue ‘extra’ attention and privileges. Like eating lunch with the lecturers, and getting extensions for every assignment because clearly they couldn’t manage their time correctly. Not like us eighteen year old’s.
Well guess what, today I became my own nemesis, the annoying mature aged pest. For a while now I have been looking into finishing some postgraduate studies in Special Education with a focus on Autism Spectrum Disorder. Having worked with many wonderful children with A.S.D over the years, It has always been a passion of mine. I kept putting it off and making excuses but last week I decided to jump in head first. Today was the first day and even as I typed in my silly little question to the lecturer, I realized what I had become. The mature aged student who didn’t know how to post on the discussion board. Worse still was that after panicking about it, I worked out how to do it and then had to send another stupid email explaining that I had ‘jumped the gun’ (over eager, over anxious mature aged pest).
Sadly I now realise that ‘they’ were twenty minutes early because they needed that extra twenty minutes to study so that they wouldn’t have to do it while their children were awake.
They were writing down everything on their lecture pads because if they didn’t, there would be no way of remembering what the hell had just gone when their memories failed them at 11pm, or when they re-entered the real world and went back to work after the lecture instead of just heading over to the uni bar for a drink.
The reason they bored everyone with stories of their children was because they were so proud, and were probably feeling guilty about leaving them in childcare while they attended uni, or that it made them feel closer if they talked about them at every opportunity.
They were asking about the assessments and extensions in week 1, because they knew their father was dying, or that their son’s birthday was approaching and they wanted to get it finished early in case ‘life’ prevented them from completing the course on time. If they didn’t finish on time it meant their husbands would be working overtime for an extra 6 months to cover the costs of you not working.
They ate lunch with the lecturers because they were the same age and at least both remembered being at uni before the internet had swept the globe, before you ‘typed’ your assignments and before Iphone’s were invented. They didn’t want to sit alone.
Thankfully It is an external course so I haven’t embarrassed my self in person….it is just my ‘online self’ that will be shamed.
In light of my new ‘annoying’ persona, I aim to keep my pathetic questions to an absolute minimum. Sorry to my 18 year old classmates, I hope you had fun at the pub last night…and I’m only jealous that I wasn’t there with you!