ChaCha's Blog

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Adventures of a Non-Traditional (read: old) College Student

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I’m 29 10/12 (which can be reduced to 29 5/6) and I have never felt so damn old. Actually, I feel like a fraud even using the term “old” in reference to myself. But as a 30-year-old mother and college junior, whose primary company is an almost-2-year-old and a bunch of 18- to 20-year-olds who are spreading their wings for the first time, I can’t help it!

Some of my classmates (who are theoretically my peers) were born the year that OJ Simpson’s white Bronco flooded our TV screens. That is part of my conscious memory. Some of these people have no idea what life was like before 24 hour television programming. I had a conversation with an 18-year-old who had no idea that TV had ever ended. She just could not conceptualize the idea that programming would stop at a certain time. I had to reword it 3 times to get her to understand what I was saying.

Me: “The TV used to end.”
Her: “Yeah, like there were no good shows on.”
Me: “No, like the TV shows were over. There weren’t anymore on at a certain point.”
Her: “I know what you’re saying: All the good shows had ended and it was just like reruns.”
Me: “No, the actual TV stopped showing programming at a certain time. You know the colored bars? Have you ever seen those? At a certain time at night, it would switch to the bars. There was no 24 hour programming.”
Her: “Ohhhh!”

And she’s not an ignorant person. She’s actually very bright and knowledgeable, especially for her age, but there is at least a generation between us that is difficult to bridge.

Another thing I’ve noticed about this generation is that they have grown up in a world of technology as a tool for self-promotion. As a result, they put little value in different viewpoints or different opinions. I still remember the good ol’ days when being different was prized and we tried to express our individuality in various ways and respect the weirdness in others (to a certain degree, anyway).

On the positive side, though, I don’t have to read a book or online lesson to know who Monica Lewinski is, or to understand the impact of the internet on society, or know what three-way calling was, or understand how a cassette tape or vinyl record worked. They might be small advantages but I’ll take ’em!

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