I felt like a high school freshman again. I've been taking classes on and off at the community college for 11 years, but I still felt small and lost going to my class yesterday. I tried to glance at my schedule to get the room number without having anyone see me do it. I've been in that same building thousands of times, probably even had classes in that same room, but it felt so foreign, as though it was a new school.
Going into class and picking a seat was different too. I got there in plenty of time to grab a seat in front (Yep, I'm still quite the non-trad student), but this class was different, because I know I'll be spending the next year or two with all these people. I can't just put up my walls around me and ignore everyone. I started getting nervous and took my ipod out of my bag, but put it back and forced myself to make some awkward small talk with the people behind me about the reading. Just like high school, everyone seemed to know each other already. Between that and knowing that I very well could be the only person in the class without experience working, I struggled to stop the feeling of doubt and anxiety that swells up right at the bottom of your throat.
The instructor arrived, and started unloading books and the syllabus and schedules and setting them up all over her table. She seemed eccentric for a second, but then again, I was an English major at a Liberal Arts college... now those professors are eccentric... This instructor does wear reading glasses over her regular glasses, but she assures us she has an eye exam coming up.
She put most of my fears at ease. Once she started talking, I started to see that she was different from other instructors, as this really is a occupational program, not just another class to pick up a few credits, she has to be different. Her job is to make us nurses. If we fail, she fails. I can see how much she cares about her students even in the way she makes eye contact and talks to us.
At one point, she took off one of her pairs of glasses and looked around the room at us reassuringly, "If you ever feel like dropping out, you all have to promise to come see me first, OK? Promise?" Yes, I think I'll like her.
And, the people that were sitting next to me asked at the end of class if I'd like to be in their study group. Not like high school after all... that's a good thing.
In other news, my mom has 3 days sober. If she made it through the night last night, it will be 4 days. More about her to come... right now, selfish or not, I have to focus on myself.