What is the biggest major life change you've made in the past five years? Do you think it was positive, negative, or neutral?
Without a doubt it was going back to SUNY Oswego. Also without a doubt it's been positive. It's been in turn aggravating, fun, harrowing, informative, and mind-opening. I've learned a lot of neat stuff in classes, and I got to dress up in garb for a class (the Hobbit reading, for those keeping score). I've hopefully gotten a several members of my feminism class, including the professor, introduced to Monty Python by virtue of playing "The Philosopher's Song" for a class presentation.
One of my concerns upon going back was that I would be too out-of-touch to make friends with the traditional students. Not only was that untrue, but there were also more non-trads than I remember from my first time around. Maybe I just didn't notice them the first time, or maybe more people are going back to school due to being laid off in this economy. Or something. At any rate, I've made friends in both the traditional and non-trad camps.
Most importantly I've become friends with my professors, some of whom were my age and some of whom were older. Several of them have standing invitations to stay at our place if they ever come to ABQ.
First and foremost is my professor from literary criticism last semester who is now my professor for feminist theory. She and Andy also get along really well, and often I'm relaying hilarious messages from one to the other. I would worry that being friends is inappropriate if she wasn't friends with so many of her students. A common refrain among us is that she's a wonderful person, but she grades hard. I don't think I'd ever before met someone who could pull off both, but she does. She's very easy to talk to, and funny, and she called me a brat because I just turned 39 and she just turned 40 ;). I am somewhat worried about passing her class due to the fact that she pulls no punches when grading, but she's also willing to help out when a student flounders.
Some other standouts are my Tolkien professor and my genres professor last semester who is now my linguistics professor. Upon finding out I live in ABQ, my Tolkien professor mentioned that it's one of her favorite cities. Andy gets to meet her when he visits next week(!), and I can't imagine they won't get along. My linguistics professor owns an Australian shepherd. Enough said, for those who know me ;).
Anyway, there have been some bad parts; most of all is missing Andy and close behind is missing the kitties. I have trouble taking notes because I tend to write slowly, and this has made linguistics especially a problem. I'm always terrified I won't do well on papers because I always feel like I don't know what I'm talking about or that I'm not covering the topic appropriately. With two ten-pagers and a twelve pager all due in late April/early May, this is especially nerve-wracking. I haven't even begun the twelve-pager yet because I was waiting on the professor to say whether she approved of my topic and my sources.
On the intangible good side I finally got to try out LARPing. I have a feeling that this one was a bit less organized than those done elsewhere, but now I have an idea of how it works. I've had some fun reunions with professors I had the first time around at Oswego. Last but not least, I've gotten to see a lot, relatively, of my mom and my sister since Oswego is close to Rome and Syracuse, at least relative to ABQ.
Even if I don't manage to graduate, I consider this one of my better decisions in life.