My only class Friday ended a little before 11 a.m., bringing my first week of classes in eight months to a close. It was largely uneventful and didn’t even come with that much homework. It did, however, come with two questions that I got asked so much they threaten to join a level of annoying previously only achieved by “Where are you going to college?”, “Who’s your favorite team?” and “You like rap music?”
The most obvious question this week is “How does it feel to be back?” or something similar. I was prepared for this. I’ll even attempt to answer it in a second.
But I wasn’t ready for “Are you still going to graduate on time?” The answer is yes, as long as nothing goes wrong this year. But it caught me off guard at first. I doubt I would have left school for a semester if it would have meant delaying my graduation. In fact, I only explored a spring internship after doing the math during my sophomore year and discovering I could graduate a semester early, do an internship during the year, add a second major or slack off incredibly in my last two years of school. I know I made the right decision.
In any case, I was at least somewhat curious as to how I would react to not only being back in Muncie, but also sitting in classes. As I noted last week, being in Muncie isn’t such a great feeling.
I surprisingly had more mixed feelings about class, at least initially. My first day of classes didn’t seem so bad. There were only three of them and they were well spaced out. I even wondered if returning to daily newspaper deadlines for the first time in months was worse than class.
Those happily naïve thoughts were destroyed on the second day of school.
I was in class from 9:30 a.m. until 3 p.m. on Tuesday, by far the worst stretch of classes I have had since graduating from high school. One might even argue that this stretch is worse than my senior year of high school because at least then I had a free period and an assigned time for lunch.
Soon, however, I discovered it is second nature to sit in class and take notes, a depressing revelation for sure. Since third grade I haven’t enjoyed much about school, but one week into my senior year of college, I find myself resenting it even more than usual. In the time since I last was in class I wrote for The Plain Dealer and Baseball America, two publications I’m proud to have on my resume. But that has only made it more difficult to return to the classroom.
No matter what freedoms being a college student grants me or how many professors allow me to call them by their first name, the act of being in a classroom makes me feel like a little kid again. There is nothing easy about leaving a cubicle behind for a chair that has a desk that flips up from one of the arms. I find myself getting sucked into things I happily haven’t thought about for eight months. I must once again deal with professors who treat sports as the bastard child of the newspaper instead of the one that pays the bills.
Most people, however, don’t want to listen to my diatribe against school when they ask what it’s like being back. So usually I just say “It’s weird” or “It sucks” or “I wish I was back in Chapel Hill,” and they nod like they get the point.
But I wonder if they do. I know I thought I understood what my friends were saying when they were college seniors about just wanting to be done with school and start real life. But now, I realize how much I really didn’t get it until this week.