Sunday, August 28, 2011


Frustrated and sweaty, I started trekking back to the Campus Center. Every person I spoke with on campus in the last hour was unable to help me because I didn't have my passphrase. Feeling old and disoriented, I began to doubt my choice of coming back to school.

Maybe I really am too old.

Ten years ago I remember walking up to the bank teller like counter at the MATC registrar with an enrollment issues and watching the lady with 25+ years experience and plenty of weight with the professors, resolve the issue with a sigh, eye roll while filing her nails. I didn't need a passphrase just a carbon sheet with the right boxes checked (or else endure an additional eye roll) and a deep breath to rebound the negative energy. No additional walking, tracking down professors or specialized advisers who are happy to help on days they aren't telecommuting. Just you and some lady named Jean who was the enrollment goddess, ready to unleash her wrath with her Wisconsin accent and strong dislike for people from Illinois.

When I decided to go back to school this fall not everyone was excited for me. I can't even call myself excited about it. I am more resolute. It is something I must do. The critics voices walk with me on the 90 degree, passphraseless day on the quad of IUPUI as I pass the library. Questioning my age, my major in psychology and my constant need to win over my critics, I realize I am only walking with my fear of failure. Now I really feel old, because this fear has been with me for as long as I could remember and has prevented me from starting many things.

As I cross under the bridge, and enter the thick of the WOW festivities, I realize I am on a college campus. I am not the only one here with a fear of failure. I am not the only one here who will question a chosen major. I am not the only one here gaining knowledge of a subject in an effort to define myself. How am I ever gonna know if I am going to fail if I don't try? And so what if I do. "Failure isn't failure if a lesson from it's learned." I believed those words when Garth Brooks sung them 13 years ago when I moved from Illinois to Wisconsin, and they are going to pull me through now. Or at least until I figure out my passphrase.