The Oldest Living College Freshman Tells All:.

"Whatever it takes I'm giving. It's just a gift I'm given.
Try to live inside. Trying to move inside.
And I always thought that it would make me smarter:
But it's only made me harder. My heart thrown open wide.
In this near wild heaven :Not near enough " ~ R.E.M.

This week we ALL started school. My Nine Year Old Stepson, my Twelve Year Old Bio-Son, my fiance' and me:the freshman. I have worked in and around the theatre and visual entertainment mediums all my life. I have been in plays at colleges. I have taught at colleges. I have coordinated and managed Film/Theatre/TV/Radio productions in colleges. BUT I have NEVER put my butt in a seat in a classroom as a student:.and I am old as dirt. Maybe not for the planet, but for me:I feel really old and now I am starting all over:again. This is an ego thing I know. I am teetering between pure child-like excitement and complete terror. What if no body likes me? What if (the big IF):what if I don't get it and I fail?

Failure and disappointment was the deepest vain in the deepest root of my drinking. I have a fairly pronounced learning disability. I am a "confused reader". The idea of anything like "academia" brings it all back. All of the sad confusion of my life as a student. But this time, I am prepared, "armed" as it were. With help from D.S.P.S. (Disabled Student Programs and Services) :and some loving support from my family:and few extra AA meetings to sugar my anxiety:I think I will be more than ok.

My first week was a bruiser. I have already had to do a "drop/add" for one class. But I am OK and even better than that, I feel accomplished. Like I waded into the deep end, full of fear and trepidation and then suddenly:remembered how to float, to relax with the sense that the water is just fine.

I dropped my second class because of a very odd and rather "smarmy" teacher. A guy who used power and a sort of confused "coquetry" to (very unsuccessfully) beguile me. I was Sooo bothered by this guy. I mean- I am almost fifty and I thought this kind of crap had ended in the 70's. Do male teachers still mess with female students brains for sport? Say it ain't so!

So the audio class went out and the acting class went in.The hardest part was getting past my emotions and my sense that I had done something wrong. The folks at DSPS were super kind and more importantly compassionate. Their chief concern was to get to a good healthy solution and to let me know I am safe. For me DSPS is like a really good police department:they are there to protect and defend. Very honorable group of folks, filled with kindness and respect.

Just so you know last Monday was not a complete wash... with the failed audio class: I actually started the day with a rippingly-good Studio TV production Class (FP 160 is still taking students and I HIGHLY reccomend it!). The class is in Goleta at the old Univision/Fox building. When I got to class everyone was in the foyer at the now Channel 17 & 21 sudios... waiting. Mostly youngins. Smart looking for the most part except for two girls from Norway who wore small, I mean teeny tiny clothes. Little tiny "doll cloths" and really high heals. Yes!!! I am envious. If my legs looked like that I would be walking around naked:all the time:every spikey high heals.
I was breathlessly thankfully not to be the only "older" woman there. The class is, so far, a nice mix. Although I am not sure if anyone is as ambitious as I am. I am on fire...and perhaps a bit obnoxious in my verve!

When we finally were let into the studio I was in absolute awe! LED lighting (non-heat radiant lights:thank you baby Jesus!). Digital robotic camera's and even one on a jib. Studios for filming. Green screen:. color me happy:it was like going to Sax and getting to buy big expensive things! Like BIG jewlery or Dolci and Gabana shoes! So needless to say... my first class was thrilling. It only sux that the day ended with such a thundering thud from the Audio class. But after a long cry Monday night and Tuesday morning, a meeting with DSPS and a quick drop/add:. I was quite recovered. I think one great lesson right from the start is that education is a universal term. You learn from the entire experience, not just in the classroom.

The class I picked up was an acting class. Now you may be wondering why would someone who has worked as a professional actor take an acting class? Easy:you have to keep the machine oiled. I had never taken a college acting class. Who knows what I might learn? I like the teacher. She is a "she" for one and a Mom for another and she made me very welcome considering I came in a day late. It was a great class and all the anxiety I felt as a freshman, melted and mellowed away. We did some Meisner warm up stuff and then some improv. I felt like one of the group very quickly. Except for the two guys with hangovers and the one with the black eye:who the teacher pleaded with to, "stop doin that crap!":. I felt a part of. I mean...I can relate to drunk guys...I am just not one of the drunk guys...anymore...never was a guy...just a drunk.

Here is my question:"How do these 19 and 20 year olds get into Sharkey's anyhow?"

So all in all it was a good week. My kids went back to their respective schools, Peabody and SBJHS and my fiance and I ...filled with anxiety and excitement... joined the ranks at SBCC. Life and school are in session!

My hope is that this experience makes us better people and better parents. I hope the "creepiness" of the weird teacher is uncommon because... yeah know, A LOT of older women...and men... are going back to school! The economie's hyper-intense-crash has made it a great alternative to break-neck-poverty and depression. The opportunity to go back to school and build new and better tool boxes. You don't have to go for a degree. You can enhance the things you already know and make them better. It is the true "win-win" end to last years crashingly-bad financial story. These tools I am acquiring will make me a better "earner" for my family. Some one asked me the other day, "what is the reason for all the hard work with so much on your plate already?"
I replied, "milk".
Just like Russell Crowe's character in "Cinderella Man". I am doing it for my kids and my self so we can have a better life. Simple stuff. Kids make life simple really. You just do the next right thing:every day.

The first time my fiance' took me to the SBCC book store, I almost passed out from dripping-wet-sweat-terror. I am not a "text" book person. After I recovered I remembered the smell...the smell of the books...the smell of pencils and erasers and of was intoxicating! It was like a kind of "itellectual bakery" smelled soooo sweet! The sweet smell of success!

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