Respect your elders

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November 9, 2007

3:23 PM

On the first day of classes, one of them came and sat in the front row of my math class. I saw another group the next day in my psychology class. Last week, one rode by on her bike causing my friend to say that she must be a student because he always sees her with a book bag.

p. It’s not uncommon for there to be a few older students in classes, walking around campus, eating at the Caf or studying in Swem. They proudly call themselves members of the “Prime Tribe.” There’s a chance you have at least one class with someone like this, and a chance that you’ve probably not even given this person a moment’s notice.

p. There’s something admirable about a non-traditionally aged student. I can barely juggle all my time commitments ­­­­­­­— my classes, sorority, club team and friends. Imagine juggling classes, a job, family, friends and many other responsibilities. It doesn’t seem manageable to someone in their late teens or early 20s.

p. Non-traditionally aged students have a higher maturity level that gives them the ability to manage all their obligations. Their reasons for getting degrees are probably much more thought out than those of many typical students. If you were to take a random poll of the freshman class, I’m sure that more than half would not know what they want to study in the future. I’m also sure an even higher percentage would not have a better reason for getting a higher education than, “It’s just something I thought I was supposed to do.”

p. For many, college is just another stalling period before they have to grow up. But rereading the article titled “Prime Tribe adds diversity to the College” in the Nov. 6 issue of The Flat Hat, it seems that older students do have a better idea of why they are attending college, including everything from wanting to get more money at their current job to being a better role model for their children and, in some cases, their grandchildren.

p. Possessing a high maturity level and an advanced understanding of why they are attending college, should non-traditionally aged students be considered traditionally aged? If so, this leads to the additional question whether more students should consider going to college when they’re more mature and gain some experience in the world.

p. After completing high school, plenty of students take a year off before starting college. Plenty of students also travel abroad for a semester or a summer. But does that year, semester or summer allow you to grow up enough to give you a sense of clarity about your future goals?

p. College is a great opportunity for you to grow, but it is still a sheltered environment and there is still a hierarchy of people responsible for your well-being. There’s no doubt that you would learn more in the real world where the only person looking out for you is yourself.

p. Before deciding to go to college, nobody should be expected to suddenly have some strange burst of clairvoyance regarding their future. It sure didn’t happen to me. Everything is up in the air for a lot of students. Maybe waiting a bit would help, or maybe it wouldn’t. There’s no real right or wrong answer to this scenario, just a lot of what ifs and possibilities that depend on who you are.

p. __Jessica Gallinaro is a freshman at the College.__

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