BEING 31 ON A COLLEGE CAMPUS

I am finishing my MA in Chinese history at the University of Hawaii at Manoa and my time here has been very interesting...I got my bachelors degree from West Point and so many of my experiences are new simply because I was in a prison-like environment the first time round...however, I'll focus on my first day of class...
  1. I showed up late to my first class because I couldn't find parking (who knew 20,000 students all drove to school)...
  2. My first class was a 400 level course and the teacher was also late. Me being the old guy showing up before the teacher, everyone thought I was the professor (not the last time this would happen)...
  3. I realize they think I'm the professor because I'm wearing pants and a shirt with a collar. Everyone else is in "board shorts" or "booty shorts."
  4. I also realize that they all look like they are still in high school...as I look around for a seat I see a senior citizen in the corner. I sit next to her because it, sadly, makes me feel more comfortable...
  5. The professor (and my advisor) show up and we have to introduce ourselves. My new (old?) friend in the corner is a former lawyer. I tell everyone that I deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan apparently when they were in 6th grade and 7th grade...
  6. After class ends I resolve to dress down and shave so that I look younger. As I walk out of class, a kid grabs his "board" and skates down the hall towards the exit doors. WTF? The phrase "Not in my Army son!" immediately pops into my head. Then I realize I'll never be like them, and I don't want to be.
  7. Instead of trying to fit in with my much younger civilian friends, I decide to embrace my experiences and share them when appropriate.
  8. The good news: I think our country will be in good hands. Millennials are smart, creative, and driven to make the most of their opportunities, even if that means wearing pajamas to school!
  9. As an aside, the other time that I was mistaken for a professor was when I was checking out a book. I asked the clerk when it was due back, and she replied: "oh, professors can check out a book 99 times so no worries..." Me: "but I'm a student..." Her: "oh.......sorry hehehe, books are due back in two weeks..." Me: "Roger....I mean cool, Thanks..."