Friday, August 6, 2010

I Guess You Get What You Ask For

I suppose it is a little contradictory of me to refer to our return to school as part of our continuing effort to not grow up and then complain about being treated like a child, but this is ridiculous.


I have noticed lately that when I start typing a blog entry, I usually start with the sentence that should probably be found halfway down. I have provided no explanation or set up for the above statement. It's just dropped out of no where. In previous entries I have gone back and cut the offending sentence from the beginning and moved it to a more appropriate place, but in this instance I am leaving it. I am not sure why my mind works this way, but its been doing it for a long time now. Back in my magazine writing class at Mizzou I did the same thing with several stories. We were asked to re-write a story our professor (and editor-at-large at GQ magazine) had written. My lede was a scene halfway through his story when the protagonist finds himself sitting in his backyard with his gun collection thinking about shooting himself. When I wrote a profile on one of the guys inside the Truman the Tiger suits, I started it with him on the steps of the basketball stadium with a bloody fist. I just like to start in the middle I guess. Either that, or it is a cheap gimmick to make up for the fact that I am not that great of a writer to start with.


So things have been a little entertaining on the Cale-is-going-back-to-school-as-an-undergraduate front. First we had to be back in America in mid-July so he could attend one of those welcome-to-college days where fresh-faced freshman wander around with their parents in awe and sleep in a dorm for the first time. Granted his was specifically for transfer students and was in theory less geared towards 18-year-olds, but not by much. They still seem to assume you are 19 or 20 years old and transferring from a community college where you probably lived with your parents. There were sections on renters' rights and the dangers of credit cards. For all the jumping through hoops and presentations, all Cale really needed to do was see a academic advisor and register for classes, yet he wasn't allowed to simply do that. He was required to attend one of these welcome events. They don't seem to offer any sort of option for adults who are returning to finish their undergraduate degrees. It was frustrating enough for Cale, but I am trying to imagine what something like that would be like for, say, a retiree, who decided to go back to school. You're 65 and you have to watch 20-year-olds give you talks about managing your money and using the library.

Cale is going back to school for a business degree. Very few of his existing credits count toward this degree, but he has is electives totally taken care of. He joking refers to all his 300-level classes that are meaningless now. "You mean my credits in playwriting don't count for anything in the business school?" However, his life experience doesn't seem to count for anything either. Cale has run a million dollar restaurant, he was a corporate fixer who went around to failing franchises to set them straight and he was self-employed when he was making studio furniture, but there is no way for him to get out of the mandatory careers in business class.

Recently Cale received an email from school telling him he must complete a two-part, multi-hour online alcohol education course before he can register for classes in the spring semester. He even called to ask if he could get out of it. "I'm 30 years old," he explained. Doesn't matter. So Cale spent two hours watching videos of edgy teen-agers read from scripts about drinking, drugs and healthy relationships.

He was asked questions like:
"How likely are you to get in trouble with your parents for your drinking."
"How likely are you to drink more than four drinks in a night and be taken advantage of sexually"

And had to account for his living situation.
At home with mom and dad? Off-campus apartment with friends? Living with his steady girlfriend/boyfriend?

It seems surprising to me that there is not an admissions option for transfer/returning students over a certain age that would exempt them from all these requirements obviously created for teen-agers or people living away from home for the first time.

Oh well, at least Cale is getting almost weekly reminders that he is currently successfully continuing to not grow up. Or possibly daily reminders that despite his best efforts, he may have inadvertently grown up — just a little bit.

Cale's response? "I'd better hurry up and buy a motorcycle."

— Sara

1 comment:

Barb Carusillo said...

If he waited till his 50s to complete his degree, he would probably get a kick out of all that stuff (wow, to be thought of as a youngster again!).