Years after a red beret was first wedged over my fresh bowl cut, I'm still terrorized by that late-summer chill that makes every back-to-school bell ominously call my name. After two decades of being measured by red ink, I was finally free of the hallowed halls of education, with a degree in politics in hand to prove it. To exorcise my fall-jitters demons, I'd spend summer's end scoffing at back-to-school sales and the legions of anxious little backpackers buying up plaids and pencil cases. I swore I would never see another timetable again.
But as one of the millions with a BA lining my sock drawer and a bar resumé longer than my undergrad years, I'm caving in to the Devry dreams propaganda. I'm jumping onto the bandwagon and going back to school to oh-so-responsibly "upgrade my skills" with a graduate degree in journalism.
Back are those vicious math exam nightmares. This year, I fear, I've really got it coming.
Admittedly, the undergrad classes where I spent time decontructing hiphop and analyzing the political structures of Peruvian ranchers did little to land me a paying job, but that was never the point.
I walked off the graduation platform and straight onto a plane bound for Asia. Having a real BA did save me the eight bucks I could have spent on a made-in-Bangkok replica. If I'd had the foresight, I could have purchased a $4 international press pass and avoided the need for this second degree .
Alas, I've signed up for the slaughter. But by the second week, my senseless fear of fall dissipates as I recall the joys of skipping and 1 pm classes.
All my reminiscing turns me into a pedantic old crab as I lament the golden days of nominal tuition fees and ad-free bathroom stalls.
I start cursing audibly at the brass plaques that tell me my chairs come care of the daily rags. Am I meant to be grateful that my desk was supplied by the same paper responsible for the Sunshine Girl?
Paying some of the highest tuition fees in the country, I haven't yet discerned how I'm benefiting from such corporate sponsorship. Maybe that's what they'll teach me in "investigative techniques."
Still, I find myself at the head of a lengthy line, voluntarily doling out the contents of my bank account. The tightness in my chest returns. And I swear, one last time, that I will never see another timetable again.