Twenty-five is by no means old. But at times I feel older than the quinquagenarians with whom I share frustrated work space. Heading back into the classroom to complete my Master's degree has all but my pinned me between the worlds of old and young. I sit in the classroom among 29 other students, the bulk of who are close to my age, and find myself familiar as a student but uncomfortable in my working-professional-going-to-school-at-night persona.
In my undergrad, I muscled out of bed, rarely changing out of my sweatpants or showering before class. I attentively participated in class and understood the importance of education, but certainly felt a divide between myself and the working world. The distance between my English classrooms and the real world was comfortably long and wide.
Now I sit in the classroom after putting in 8 hours at my job, dressed in business professional attire and even, occasionally, a pair of heels. I don't use a backpack but a very professional-looking (and large!) shoulder bag full of my personal, work, and school planners, notebooks, books, and my grocery list. I wear make-up, have semi-presentable hair (there's only so much a woman can do after an 8 hour day at work) and snack on carrots and grapes to make it through the 6 hours of class.
Graduate school is of a different caliber, mainly because it's a group of students professionally committed to the same subject; in my case, secondary education. The subject matter is more attainable and practical, the readings easier because of my vested interest. But sitting next to the class goofball doesn't change and it's no easier to keep myself from doodling some ridiculous image my professor says and tittering mindlessly until tears come to my eyes.
Ah, school. Thanks for having me back.