Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Going Back to My Old School

There are few things more terrifying for a "seasoned" citizen than going back to school.
The obvious reasons are that older students don't exactly blend-in with the rest of the student body, especially with our Dad- or Mom-bod appearance. The cat-like reflexes we once had as teenagers have long since departed. The issue of physical stamina is also called into question, and pulling an all-nighter to cram for an exam--after 6-decades of orbiting the sun--is out of the question.

Regardless, I have been investigating that very experiment--returning to college. I am reliving the frustrations and irritations of my youth in navigating obtuse websites, opaque clusters of instructions, and the eccentric personality that is Academia on the internet. 

Today I learned I may have to take an entrance exam to go back to school. Seriously?
I think I took the SAT when I was in High School. Many of my friends were crowing about their scores. As I recall, I was no rooster.

The Texas Success Initiative is being held over my head like some Damoclean sword (I'll bet that reference isn't on the test!) and frankly, I'm stumped by the very first math question:
"If 3t - 7 = 5t, what is 6t?" 

I believe this particular form of mental torture is called Algebra.
Kids, I have NEVER used a stick of Algebra in all the years of my semi-stellar professional career. 

The answer to this puzzle is -21, according to the test answers supplied by the College Board.
I think they have to provide the answers so people like me won't blow a mental o-ring and my head explode. I tried to Google the solution on-line, and some of the answers made Common Core look like an excerpt from Tip and Mitten (another arcane reference the students of today don't get).

That's the other frustration of being a senior Senior on campus--nobody gets your jokes.
The most-distant cultural reference these young pups might catch would be lines quoted from Napoleon Dynamite, or maybe, Ferris Bueller's Day Off. I'm not even going to try to keep up with their music.

I read inspiring stories of 80-year old's going back to school to earn their degrees, and they're the life of the party. They're campus celebrities, and at their commencement they deliver stirring addresses to motivate and encourage their 20-something classmates. And then they go home and die the following week.
I think I know why.
"What is 6t?"

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