THE OLD MAN AND THE IVY
I am, perhaps, the world’s oldest undergraduate. I walk among you, a prodigal son, the long banished duke returned from exile, tired and older, if still in quest of his Golden Fleece, becoming a college graduate before death! Indeed, I took the road less traveled, chasing countless fast-receding rainbows, but I’m still here. Surely other elders here endure as tenaciously as a dogged English Ivy climbing ever higher, but more often than not I find I’m the oldest person in class. On day one students regard me in deference when passing in the hall; some even offer, “Good afternoon, Professor,” a mistaken if natural first impression I correct them of immediately.
Last Monday, the eighteenth, I awoke convinced it was the first day of classes. Not feeling well I marshaled on, determined to not miss the first day I showered my ripe middle-aged body, blindly dressed and drove myself to campus progressively intoxicated by the potency of my strong Cuban coffee. True, I am becoming absent-minded of late, but even for me, this took the cake. As I turned off Mannakee it was obvious I was still dreaming or in the twilight zone, for before me lay nothing but an empty sea of blacktop and endless parking spaces. I took a deep breath. Yes, I suppose I am trying to outrun the clock like Alice’s White Rabbit. I took a moment to reflect on my first visit as a returning adult student, which ambition was thwarted by a terrible car accident in 2009, and how I came back to Montgomery to finish what I had started, this time as a Veteran under a wonderful program for Veterans, the VRAP (Veterans Retraining) that our Congress sadly felt was unworthy of further funding.
Luckily, in my time here, I have worked as hard as possible to give my earnest best and take from this tardy experience the greatest value possible. As It turns out MC yet offers me so many amazing opportunities to exploit before I move on come Fall 2015. I’ve known the great reward of reaping honors for my discipline and determination. Recently I became a member of the Phi Theta Kappa Society and was also accepted into The Renaissance Scholar’s Program. I don’t wish to applaud myself but to inspire all you younger, far brighter, wondrous young people, that you realize the remarkable opportunities Montgomery offers those who give themselves over to its challenges with pure intention, self-governance, perseverance, patience, and, naturally, a lot of hard work.
From the day I set foot on the Rockville Campus I’ve been guided and supported by innumerable professors and individual’s of remarkable depth, professionalism and passion. These men and women have shared something incredibly invaluable with me and to them I thus devote these final months of my ongoing academic journey here. The leaves are about to change and soon shall we all. Welcome incoming students to our Fall 2014. I wish everyone the very best. Carpe Diem!