Acceptance by a group or individual is affirmation that you count. When the letter from the college came in the mail, I was not sure I wanted to open it. If I did not get accepted, I would be crushed. If I was accepted, I would be anxious. I carefully placed the envelope on the kitchen table. And that is where it stayed for seven days. In the end, my grandson, Ethan, was the one to open the envelope. He read the letter quickly and smiled at me. I was in! I am going to college!!
A moment of clarity always ruins a good celebration. After the initial dancing and shouting wound down, I realized that in addition to feeling exhilarated at the very thought of attending a major university, I was frightened at the same time. Was I too old? Would I be able to keep up with classmates that were a third of my age? What if I just wasn’t smart enough for college? Still, if I did go to college, I would be able to learn everything I have always wondered about; what Shakespeare really means with his flowery prose, how a group of ragtag farmers created a country that became one of the superpowers in the world, and if I really was a good writer, like everyone says. Just the decision to go to college was enough to cause an anxiety attack.
I knew that technology would be a challenge for me, and not without a certain amount of stress, caused by trying to catch up with a generation so skilled at everything technical. When I graduated from high school, computers were only seen in Science Fiction shows on television. The internet did not exist, and the idea of a telephone that I could carry around in my pocket remained far in the future. Facebook was the high school yearbook. MySpace was half of a bedroom I shared with my sister. Online was where I stood for sale prices at J.C. Penny’s and texting was a telegram from Western Union. Social networking was knowing someone who knew someone. It was having connections through community. A community of people to ask for advice, lend a helping hand, and most importantly—to offer support when I need it the most.
I quickly discovered that mastering technology is a minor issue when compared to a being college student over the age of fifty-five years old.