Go Bengals

One of the things that has changed in my life this year is that I’m teaching at Buff State.  Once a week I trot over to the Buff State campus, I search for parking like every other poor soul in town, and I teach some viola lessons.  It’s a pretty low-key position, but doing this job has put me back into regular contact with college students, and it’s been a really rewarding experience.

I’m 34-years-old, and I graduated from college in 1997, which, if my math is correct, was ten million years ago.  Being back on a college campus after almost a decade and a half away is interesting, particularly around the end of the semester.

I’m not so old that I don’t remember how insanely stressful college finals can be.  In fact, stepping on to campus, I have to say, the stress is palpable.  It’s in the air.  Being in that collegiate atmosphere, even as a visitor, and even 13-years-later, creates in me an interesting combination of nostalgia and retroactive panic.

At the risk of sounding like I think I’m some sort of wise old sage (WARNING: I assure you, I am NOT a wise old sage), I guess I feel compelled to say this today: If you are a student like I was, and you feel like you might explode from the stress, and being in school makes you feel like you might have a nervous breakdown…..just try not to worry, and just try to survive it.  It won’t always be like this.

When I wander around Buff State, the memory of that “end of the year stress” is so strong that I literally feel it in my body, but honestly, I don’t remember ANY of the events from college that caused that stress.  After a few years away from school, the memories of specific tests and recitals and exams just kind of faded, and they definitely lost their death grip on my psyche.

Being around college kids reminds me that whatever I’m freaking out about today probably isn’t going to mean diddly-poo in a few years.  In a few years we’ll all have entirely new diddly-poo to fret about; which, if you think about it, is oddly comforting.

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10 Responses to “Go Bengals”


  1. 1 Heather B. May 5, 2010 at 3:39 pm

    Kids, deal with the stress now so you’re not a 32-year-old full-time working adult who is also trying to write papers and pass finals. That kinda blows.

    But it’s good to know I won’t even remember it in a few years, Kate! :)

  2. 2 mcguffers May 5, 2010 at 4:14 pm

    We played the Bengals in lacrosse and all I have to say is those girls are animals! They’re probably stressed out from all the PEDs they’re taking!

    And before anyone yells at me, I’m just kidding. About the PEDs at least. They really were effing psychos. :D

  3. 3 Julia May 5, 2010 at 4:33 pm

    As Buffalo State alumnus, I’m glad to hear they have someone teaching viola lessons!

    When I transferred to Buff State, I was dismayed that there was no orchestra at the college. The college band was in a bit of a spot too as they were looking for percussionists and took me (a violinist, no jokes please) on. Someone from the BPO gave me weekly lessons, which I thought was awesome. A great experience but I still wish the college could have had an orchestra. Rock on Strings!

  4. 4 Mags May 5, 2010 at 4:38 pm

    It won’t always be like this.

    THANK GOD. I’ve been on the verge of completely melting down for DAYS, and feeling like a total failure about it, but I feel better now. Or at least less like my head is going to explode if I don’t read this book by Monday. Wooooooo perspective!

  5. 5 Katebits May 5, 2010 at 6:44 pm

    Heather, I thought of you while I was writing this. I’m admire you so much for putting yourself back in the fray. Other than the “having to work full time” aspect of this, I bet you’re roughly 100000000xs better at dealing with stress than your younger classmates just because you’re a wise old lady. :D

    Mcguffers, it does not surprise me at ALL to learn that the lady Bengals are wild beasts on the lacrosse team. Heh.

    Julia, the string/orchestra program is brand new this year at Buff State so this is the first year they’ve had any string players on the faculty at all. It’s a fledgling program, but at least it’s there!

    Hang in there, Mags! In a few years that book will mean diddly-poo! :)

  6. 6 Jonathan May 6, 2010 at 8:30 am

    I’m 6 years out of college, and still have nightmares, that I have test that I didn’t study for.

    I feel kinda stupid when I wake up

  7. 7 Katebits May 6, 2010 at 9:53 am

    Jonathan, I don’t think those dreams ever go away for some people. When I started freelancing as a musician my anxiety dreams switched from taking tests to having to perform without knowing the music or being late for a gig and not knowing where it is.

  8. 8 Schnookie May 6, 2010 at 9:57 am

    I’ve been out of college for somewhere between “over a decade” and “ten million years” too, and I recently had my first “final exam I didn’t study for” nightmare in AGES. It was so weird to wake up and remember the end-of-the-year college stress, because it’s so true that man, you REALLY forget about it, don’t you? Heh. Thanks, Katebits, for the perspective — I can laugh in the face of the IRS today, because I know that in a few years, this audit is going to mean diddly-poo! :D

    (And Heather, you are a complete superhero for combining full-time, employed adulthood with college.)

  9. 9 Caroline May 6, 2010 at 2:19 pm

    Kate, I didn’t know you taught at Buff State! That’s pretty cool. But yeah, the stress of finals is definitely in the air… I can’t wait for next week to be over with so I can just stop worrying about school (and finding a place to park) for a few months.

  10. 10 Mike in Idaho May 6, 2010 at 3:01 pm

    I second Heather’s comment, kids do well now so you don’t have to do it again later. I went back to school at 32 to get a Computer Science degree while working a full time job and the next 3 years were way too busy. In my previous goof off life, it took me 9 years to get a rather easy Mass Communication degree, which coincidentally enough I got in 1997.


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