Thursday, August 28, 2008

On School...

August 27th, 2008...



I had approached this day with trepidation. I've done lots of things, felt lots of things, dreamed lots of things; but college? No, I've never done this. I remember the first day of school... a few first days of school, when I was a kid. The days before the first day were filled with anxiety:

What if I'm not smart enough? Writing assignments, long division, spelling bees, fractions...
What if I can't make friends? Other kids don't like me. I don't fit in very well.
What if my teacher doesn't like me? And writes my name on the board in front of everyone?
What if I get lost? I get confused sometimes: what was I doing? Where am I?
What if... what if... what if? Pop quizzes, chicken pox, forgotten homework, field trips, oral reports, bullies, feeling like I'm always on the outside of everything...

Each year of additional academic experience did nothing to assuage this litany of horrifying possibilities, pounded out through my head every single first day. The questions running through my head were very similar, with only slightly different connotations:

What if I'm not smart enough? I feel quite sure that the previous decade of academic interstice has atrophied beyond recognition anything that resembled intelligence.
What if I don't make friends? I'm quite antisocial. My therapist says that school will be a great opportunity to make human connections, to meet people with my interests. It's not that I can't make friends. It's that I'm usually so paralyzed by shyness that I don't make the effort. It's easier to be an island. Upon hearing me say something like this, I'm sure my therapist would lower her forehead into one hand defeatedly and sigh. Don't tell her.
What if my teacher doesn't like me? It happens.
What if I get lost? The circuitous nature of UVU's campus has me feeling like a small child wandering around in a very large and unfamiliar library. Is it just me, or does everyone else know where they're going? Maybe it's just me...
And a new one: What if I can't keep up with these mentally agile, super-young undergrads? I feel so old sometimes.
What if... what if... what if? Test anxiety, losing my place (in the middle of a thought, a sentence, a class, an assignment, a conversation), talking to professors....


We will see how it goes. Observations on Life, The Universe and Everything to follow.

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