I never understood the importance of time until I grew older. Now, at the age of 27, I get it and I had to learn what was important and what wasn’t.
My choice party and live way beyond the scope of my means proved to be disastrous. At the age of 18, I choose to be another cliché’, a small town girl with big time problems, who drowned her miserable circumstance with Jack Daniels and Mad Dog 20/20. I was in and out of colleges, my mother gave up on the illusion that one day I would actually finish my degree and have a decent career. Through my cloud of hangovers, I learned that the idea of ‘finding yourself’ was a croc, the only thing I found was that I was a moron. The bills weren’t going to stop coming and my friends weren’t going to put food on the table. Eventually, I settled on building a reputable career in Early Childhood Education. In my mid-20’s, I managed to settle on starting a degree program at Queens focusing on Creative Writing, a passion that I had since I was a pre-teen.
To me when I listen to conversations or being told an overly dramatic expose’ on the woes of campus life, I find incredibly comical and sometimes annoying. The one complaint I hear most often is ‘when I am supposed to find the time to do this?’ I just want to shout ‘You don’t have time? Try living my life for one day!’ My day starts at 5:00 a.m. Monday through Friday. By 6:00 a.m I am driving out to Weddington, NC. On a good day it takes me 15 minutes to get to my job. Once I get there, my first encounter is with a two year old child and by 9:00 a.m I have 18 more. Once they leave my classroom, the rest of my morning is teaching Pre-K children literacy, math and social skills. I also have to say things such as “it is never a good idea to eat paste” or “you will never see another marker again if I catch you putting it up your nose.” At nap time, I am typing up lesson plans and workshop responses for my Writing of Fiction class; I am preparing for parent teacher conferences and reading The Sun Also Rises. On my lunch break, I am napping in my car out in the parking lot trying to catch up on at least one hour of the four hours of sleep that I missed the night before.
My drive to campus is not any easier either. Cars whiz by me as I am doing 70 miles an hour on Providence Road. In the car, I manage to eat a snack I stole from work and finish up reading at a stoplight. Once I have spent 20 minutes searching for parking, I have three minutes to make it to McEwen and two minutes to use the bathroom. I manage to get a quick glimpse in the mirror and realize that my hair makes me look like Charles Manson’s love child. When I finally make it home, which is right on the outskirts of Blakeney in Ballantyne, I catch up on General Hospital and Modern Family, shoveling a spoonful of cereal in one hand and finishing a linguistics assignment with the other.
I do this, four days a week for five classes. To be frank, I am exhausted. However, my assignments get done and I do it with no complaints. I have to make it work because I have to work, which for the most part, is the general consensus for adult learners. Do I have regrets? Yes. Do I dwell on them? No. I have to consider the bigger picture and I fully understand that my choices led me here and this is only temporary.
In order to help further integrate Traditional Undergraduate students and Hayworth students there needs to be a stronger level of understanding. I want to urge the TUG students to find a Hayworth student on campus, offer them a little encouragement or a cup of coffee. Talk to them about your scheduling conflicts and then listen to theirs. Consider that your circumstances could have been different and learn to use your time wisely. Hayworth students, I urge you to find the time to talk to TUG students and get a sense of what they have to say, you may be surprised to learn that although your experiences may be different, your feelings about your current situation may be the same.