For the longest time I imagined that returning to study as a mature age student would resemble a scene from Community. Me as the cool kid on campus, getting up to all sorts of hijinks and happily coasting by on a Credit average. I would win paintball, help the debate team and find the ultimate blow-off class. UoW would never know a better Jeff Winger.
Unfortunately, university as a mature age student is never as exciting as TV makes it seem, the reality is a lot closer to Billy Madison. While Community makes it seem as though students as old as Pierce or Leonard can still fit in with the kids, I’m over here dropping references to films from the 1990s like a cultural Neanderthal.
I hear other student discuss Tumblr and Reddit while I’m left wondering if anyone uses Facebook anymore. I was operating under the illusion that the kids loved to use the Twitter, but half of them think it’s an old person platform. I’m chuckling at having to turn to page sixty-nine while they’re amused by fart sounds. There has never been a more exciting time to misunderstand your own generation.
Which brings me to another gripe, how come we’re called millennials now? I had just gotten used to calling us Gen-Y and suddenly it’s been changed?
But, I digress, the decade between me and my fellow students has caused no end of confusion as I struggle to learn how to talk to them. I’ve had to bookmark Urban Dictionary as I hear terms such as “dank memes” and “ATAR” thrown around as though I should know what it means. What happened to the UAI?
In the decade since I finished school, a lot has changed. Apparently Rove is no longer topical. 9/11 seems to be this generation’s Berlin Wall, in that they’re aware of it as something that happened but only because they were told about it. And no one really knows why they’re supposed to hate Kevin Rudd now.
I’m trying to play catch-up, yet even as I start to understand and fit in with my fellow students, no matter how many people tell me my tweets are “on fleek” (whatever that means), I can’t help but see myself as a grown man sitting amongst the kindergarteners.