Opinion: Life as an older student:

With age, comes fewer all-nighters

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Rebecca Noble | The Daily Wildcat

Care, health and society major Ashley Raujol delicately sets out fresh pastries at Woops! bakery on University Boulevard on Sept. 13, 2016. Most older students are balancing a job or multiple jobs on top of school work.

It’s Monday morning and I’m sitting in an auditorium waiting for my Math 105 class to start. The girls in front of me are giggling and talking about the their past weekend, which was spent drinking at frat houses and getting so smashed they literally can’t even remember the rest of the night. I try to ignore them as I pull out a pencil and paper from my bag. 

At 8 a.m. the teacher begins her lecture, only to be interrupted 5 minutes later by a girl who raises her hand and asks if she is allowed to use the bathroom. This is college, not elementary school.

After the lecture, our teacher puts us in pairs to complete an in-class assignment. My partner is a boy whose feet rest on a skateboard and there are ear buds popping out of his shirt collar. We quickly complete our assignment and sit quietly before he lets out a long, “Soooo ... is this your first year here?” I say, “nope, I’m a senior.” “A senior,” he asks with surprise, “but isn’t this class for freshman? How old are you?” I tell him I’m 25. Then he says, “Wow, so you’re like 6 years older than me. You look super young.”

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I get this response all the time. I’m fully aware I look like I just turned 16 and still ask for rides to the mall from my parents, but that is far from the truth. I don’t like to go down memory lane and say, ‘I remember when ... ,’ but so many of the conversations I hear around campus about eating Top Ramen five days a week and ordering fake IDs with roommates takes me back to my early years of college. 

Ryan Winet reads ʺThe Complete Collected Poems of Maya Angelouʺ at the UA Poetry Center in 2014. As an older student, more time is spent on reading than going out and partying.

When I started school in Seattle, the social scene was everything to me. I was all for the idea of dressing up like I was going to the beach in the middle of winter. Going to frat houses and getting drunk for free on cheap vodka was a past time and my favorite meal of the day was Taco Bell’s FourthMeal.

I took a break from school to live abroad and have a real, never ending 9 a.m. job and meet people with valuable experiences. I returned to school ready to ace all my classes, join as many extra curricular activities as my schedule would allow and wake up at 6 a.m just because I could. I’ve been guilty of being too ambitious with my first-day-of-school goals only to start habitually skipping class after the second week. But, the serious hatred of waking up for an 8 a.m. class never happened. 

The responsibilities that come with adulthood change a person’s priorities and habits. Procrastination becomes less of an issue because we know so well the feeling of pulling all-nighters. As an older student you not only have a million duties, bills and job tasks to complete, so do the friends in your life.

Iliana Gomez, a 25-year-old postgraduate student, said that her undergraduate years were spent much differently than her time now. Gomez said she used to go out a lot.

“But it gets boring,” she said. “It doesn’t get you anywhere. So right now I look forward to going home and relaxing, cooking and watching TV.” 

As low-key as this sounds, your friends will probably be enjoying the same chilled out lifestyle as you. 

“My friends are getting married or having kids, so they’re just not up for going out and partying like they used to,” Gomez said.

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I feel like I’m becoming the overachiever adult, like the one who always sits at the front of the class in the closest chair possible to the professor and the one who always completes their homework and engages in whatever is happening in class the whole time. I wouldn’t say I’ve gone quite this far, but I’m definitely more active in school and try to miss as little class as possible.

Sammy Minsk is a 25-year-old student who purchased her own Sam’s Club membership and works out at LA Fitness to avoid the younger crowd. 


Follow Sammy Minsk on Twitter

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