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When I was in school...

I'm going back to school. There, I said it. It's been eight and a half years. I expect things to be different this time around, and it's making me feel a little bit old.

For example, will the kids be taking notes on computers, not in notebooks? When I was in college, I had a laptop, but other students had desktops. It was not the norm to bring a computer to class--at all. (The laptop that I had freshman year was my uncle's hand-me-down that sometimes shut down suddenly in the middle of work and could only be turned on again by taking the battery out and slamming it back in, hard. So I did a lot of my work in the computer lab that year.)

When I was in college, all of the dorms had ethernet (as opposed to dial-up--remember that?), but wireless didn't arrive on campus until my senior year, and then only one library was equipped (as far as I recall). I babysat for a family that had wireless at home and I remember thinking that it was crazy to be able to connect to the internet without a cord! Like, just nuts! (The paterfamilias was a computer science professor, so it made sense that they were wireless earlier than most.) When I lived off campus my senior year, I had dial-up at home. I remember fiddling with TCP/IP settings.

I just signed some federal loan agreements, and whoa, have they overhauled that system! Back in my day, you went to the bursar (I think?) on the first day of school and signed some papers. I don't think I even read them, at least not after the first time I signed them, freshman year. They said to pay back the loans after graduation. End of story. Now, they make you take a 16-screen quiz before you can borrow money. I was grumbling all the way, because it was extremely boring and I needed to answer their insipid questions and then scroll up each time to close the window that automatically opened to grade my response, but I actually learned some things about my loans that I didn't know, in addition to some repayment incentives that either didn't exist when I was paying back undergraduate loans or that I didn't know about. (They may not exist for long, anyway. See this. Or maybe grad students won't be able to get subsidized loans at all. That seems like a stupid decision to me. Isn't more education good for growing the economy, inventing things, running things more efficiently, etc.? Although I do agree that going to college is more crucial than going to grad school.)

What other changes will I notice when I return to campus this fall?

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And first of all, kids might be taking notes on computers, but that's not a necessity. For at least one of my classes next year, computers aren't allowed in the classroom (a decision I approve of).

And yeah, getting loans is gross. There's also this test you have to take when you're about to pay back your loan, I think. Ugh. Try not to take out too many loans; that interest adds up so quickly you won't even know what hit you. (Case in point: During the month or so when they thought I'd graduated but I had to tell them I was still in school, my loan suddenly kicked in and I found myself owing $50 in interest...! In one month...!)

I'll have to figure out the note-taking as I go along, I guess. I should find some paper or something for the first day. (I had a whole system involving college-ruled binder paper, binders, and a clipboard in college!) I think I might take better notes on a computer, and I don't really write much anymore--seems so laborious--so I might go that route, anyway, assuming it's allowed. I will just have to turn the internet off or something, to prevent/avoid/reduce distraction.

I actually think that interest-free loans (interest-free until 6 months after graduation) are an amazing blessing, and make the impossible, possible. Grad students are not eligible for many subsidized loans, so I'm not taking so many out.
Yes! And the infamous exit loan survey takes forever when you're done with school. As if the burden of the debt wasn't enough.... Good luck with the next step!
Thanks, Morgan!
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