College Isn’t for Everyone Between the Ages of 18 and 30



After my brother dropped me off at Detroit Metro Airport, after surviving the TSA screening and after the boarding call was made, once I found my seat, the palms began to sweat. I was going away to college.

Just like any naïve, snot-nosed kid, wet behind the ears, and ready to change the world, I was nervous. I didn’t know anyone in New York City, and I, in fact, hadn’t even visited the Manhattan College campus.

Upon arrival, I found my assigned dorm room, dropped my bag and proceeded to orientation. Immediately and completely lost, I didn’t know whether I was supposed to be in Miguel Hall, or Smith Auditorium, or why I was in the Locke’s Loft kitchen when, finally, I spotted a faculty member.

“Excuse me,” I called. “I’m afraid that I’m a little lost.”

“Parents should be in the auditorium,” she answered.

“I’m not a parent.”

“I’m sorry. You must be a new faculty member.”

So, we played Process of Elimination while I double-checked my attire to make sure that the cardigan, loafers, and gimlet had been left behind until I explained, trying not to embarrass her, that I had just arrived on campus as a student.

Before leaving Detroit Metro Airport, after the boarding call was made, once I had found my seat, as the palms began to sweat, I ordered a gimlet, and told myself that, whatever I do at Manhattan College, I must not be insecure about my age.

“I understand that I may not look as young or as promising as my fellow students, but I’m hardly twenty-eight,” I assured the faculty member, jokingly giving her a hard time before confessing, “I’m twenty-nine. Alright, I’m thirty. But, I am not insecure about my age. I’m thirty-one. I accidentally turned thirty-one last spring. Anyway.”

The kind and confused faculty member directed me to where students would be meeting, but didn’t have time to ask what I had been doing for the last thirteen years. So, I asked myself for her. To answer, it’s not as if I had gone through the procedure, applied for college during my junior and senior years of high school, and waited thirteen years for the acceptance letter to arrive.

When I was eighteen, I had no intention of going to college—at least not at the moment. I had moved to Chicago, I rented a nice apartment, I had a good job, I traveled and I was happy. I was happy for about a decade.

The job was still good, and the apartment was still nice, but I had grown dissatisfied and restless in my adult life. I wanted to learn what I didn’t know. I wanted to be challenged. I wanted assignments, thought-provoking discussions, and I wanted to surround myself with people wanting those same things. And I suppose I wanted to upgrade my residence from “big city” to “preposterously huge city on an island.”

So, I enrolled at a local college in Chicago, earned some credits and soon applied as a transfer student to Manhattan College. Call me a late bloomer, but here I am. I feel good about where I am, but I suppose it’s okay to occasionally get a little lost, too.

I don’t know what kind of student I would have made thirteen years ago, but today, for now, I feel like I am right where I belong. So, thank you for accepting me, Manhattan College. I’m excited to be here, and I can’t wait to get acquainted with you. I’m still a little wet behind the ears, but the palms aren’t as sweaty.