Returning student adjusts to campus



After a 20-something-year break from Jackrabbit territory, I made the bold decision – well, maybe more a midlife crisis — to return to campus and basically get really, really good at my hobby: dirt and seeds.

During my orientation tour last spring, I was amazed at all that had changed under the watchful eyes of the Campanile. Millions of new bricks, no more usable roads through campus, and the people were all so young. Even the professors. I’m sure I looked more like somebody’s dad (or heaven forbid — grandfather) than a potential student.

Still reeling from the fact that all my old haunts were gone, I had to do a double-take when one of the admissions folk asked me if I had gotten my log-on information for D2L. What?  She went on to WebAdvisor before I got lost while I faked comprehension by nodding my head while counting the dots on her Hello Kitty lunch box. I was daydreaming about WebAdvisor and how hard it must be for that head spider to teach all the other little spiders how to make a web when Miss Admissions broke me out of my trance with her serious gummy bear chomping. She handed me a tree’s worth of paper and forms and told me I would need to log onto this and that before I could register. Back in the day, we waited in long lines at the HPER Center to sign up for classes.

Now, I am not a total technology flop. I got a second mortgage on my house to buy a Tandy way back when. And when I was forced to use a computer at work, I did find Solitaire very relaxing. I am one of those guys that just never did well with change. I preferred to type my letters on the IBM Selectric and send mail with a stamp. When cell phones came out, I held tight to my old yellow rotary dial phone.

With a lot of patience from Mary, my hero at the Ag Building, I learned to navigate around D2L and that spider teacher thing and eventually got registered. Feeling like Bill Gates, I was confident and ready for the first day of classes.

Armed with my Number 2 pencils and the crisp blank pages of a college ruled Mead notebook, I strode into class on Day One ready to learn. The professor, who coincidentally was carrying a Hello Kitty lunch box too, asked everyone to open their iPad if they had one or to link up to something or other. Okay. I pretended my pencils were antennas that didn’t work.

It’s getting better though. I now have an iPad and these young people aren’t so bad.  They are helping me get through. One of the guys even invited me over for Wii Bowling this weekend. In my day, we only said “Wii” when we were riding the roller coaster, but whatever. I’m willing to learn.


Brett Owens is an SDSU student studying horticulture. He can be emailed at [email protected].