I am a middle aged woman, enrolled as a non-traditional student at Castleton State College. I am anonymous here. No one knows me. I have no history here. I am a very small fish in a big pond.I attend my classes, study in the library, workout in the gym, eat in the cafeteria and drink coffee in The Coffee Cottage. All day long I come in contact with people, lots of them. Some of them I know their names and some of them know mine.
But I have no social group, no friends. This is disturbing to me as I am used to having a lot of people around me who know and like me. I have never been good at being by myself. I attribute that to the fact that I am a twin, and from the moment of my conception I have had a companion.
I find that I am lonely surrounded by people. I miss having study partners. I miss my support system. I miss having someone who knows me and knows something about me. I like my classes and professors. I even like my fellow students, but I have very little in common with them.
I am old enough to be a mother to most of them and even to some of the professors. As a non-traditional student I am different from the main population.
There are other non-trads here, but they travel in different circles because of the programs that they are enrolled in.
I am alone, it’s just me.
But, maybe that can be a positive thing. If I don’t dwell on what I am missing, and if I concentrate on what I will get out of the experience I might begin to enjoy it. After all, I am equipped with a pair of rose-colored glasses that I inherited from my mother. I am the eternal optimist, my glass is always half full and my cup runneth over.
I have a family and friends that love me and cheer me on. Even if I do not have a support system here, I have one at home.
With a change of perspective I can see the possibilities. Anonymity can be a liberating experience. It can be all about me. This new venue is a clean slate on which I can write a new story. It will allow me to go beyond any preconceived notions of whom or what people may think I am or, who I may think I am.
No one here expects anything from me. I don’t have to organize or take charge of anything. I do not have to be responsible for anyone but myself. This experience can be a time and place of self discovery, and I can remake myself in my own image.
I am on a journey to recreate me. I can be anything and anyone I choose to be. I wonder who that is, and I realize that the person I will become here is still a stranger to me.
And that empty hole of loneliness is replaced with the anticipation and excitement of getting to know the new me I will become.