Smarter Than A Fifth Grader?


I walked along the uneven brick sidewalk with the determination of someone who knew exactly where she was going.  Truth is I was watching my steps to be sure I didn’t trip while trying to sneak quick glances at the building’s names.  I was caught up in the sea of students who reminded me of my teenage grandson and his friend.  Huge book bags hung from the backs or shoulders of almost every student. Some walked briskly while others rode skateboards or bikes.  Most walked alone, however some were in groups of two of three.

I spotted the name of the building where I would take my first class.  It had taken a bit longer than I planned but I arrived, found my room and took a seat in the front row.  All of the early arrivals had taken the favored seats along the wall of the back of the room near the window.  I felt every eye in the classroom zero in on the older woman invading their classroom.  After all, college is when you experience life without your parent’s watchful eye.  It is much like allowing a spy into the enemy camp.

I am a non traditional student.  Most friends would confirm that I a non traditional person.  Physically, I am 61 years old but I don’t feel that old, I don’t act that old, and many say I don’t look that old.  I love my computer, laptop, IPad, IPhone, and IPod touch.  I text more than I talk on the phone.  I am up to date on contemporary issues, music, and movies.  Most of my friends are considerably younger than I am. I am physically active and although I am bit slower at times, I can keep up with most of them. I am not trying to ignore the reality of my age, but I choose not to be defined by it.

After only two days of classes I am acutely aware that I have been out of school for a very long time while my fellow classmates are fresh from high school or technical colleges.  My classroom learning was over 40 years ago.  If you’ve ever watched the show, “Are You Smarter Than a Fifth Grader”, you will see adults put to shame by fifth grade students answering basic school questions.   My analytical and critical thinking skills are not quite as sharp as my classmates. Class notes are a long forgotten skill.  My test taking ability will be called into service next week.   It all means I may have to work harder to keep up.

Yet, I am excited to begin this journey.  I love being in the classrooms.  My brain is like a sponge on steroids trying to absorb every moment of this experience.  I had all but given up  hope that this dream would ever become reality.   When my car broke down the day after my first classes, I will admit that I was discouraged.  However, after $1000 in repairs my car is back in service and I was back in class today.  Syllabuses (or syllabi), notebooks, folders, tests, homework, research, and papers are the things that fill my life today.   All I need now is “*faith, and trust, and pixie dust.”  (* Quote by J.M. Barrie in Peter Pan)

4 responses

  1. If you wanna be smarter than a 5th grader, think like a 6th grader.


    1. Oh, so I should think like you? LOL


  2. So proud of you Cathy for going for it and having faith in yourself. Just take one step at a time and just stay focused on what’s immediately in front of you to do except for papers. Since you love technology and have the syllabus start a Word document file and start your research early. Just gathering information and recording their sources. The second tip I would give you is to make a habit of reviewing your lesson within 24 hours of receiving this will insure that you remember more of it and retain it longer. Stay focused and encouraged, YOU CAN DO IT!!!!!!!!! 🙂


  3. I’m so glad you’re having fun. You CAN do this!


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