Today seemed to have a theme.  As I mentioned yesterday, sometimes I get the distinct feeling that I may be blurting out too much in class discussions, that I can’t seem to keep my pie-hole shut.  After my early French lit class, I stopped by to have the professor (who is also my French adviser) sign a sheet that, in essence, says, “yes, this program is not going to be a waste of time when it comes to major requirements.”  She mentioned that she enjoyed my comments in class.  I thanked her and said that sometimes I feel like I should put a sock in it (a paraphrase, not a direct quote), and she was kind enough to say that I should not put a sock in it (again, a paraphrase).  Which was nice.

Then, I had other classes, and of course, I added to discussion or answered questions.  All well and good.  Then I had my orientation for the Grenoble program.  I talked in that, and I kept having the feeling like I should really just give it a rest (I swear, there was a point where I thought if I said, “when I was in Poland,” one more time, I would kick myself.  I wasn’t trying to monopolize the conversation – just that, having reached this point in my life, I have plenty of life wisdom that students in their early 20s are not going to have.  I tried to keep it to a minimum, but I felt all creepy – as if I didn’t belong there at all.  As if talking was an attempt to fit it, and that I was never going to fit in.  The thing is, I don’t try to be all chummy with my classmates – I’ll engage in idle chitchat before class, but even then there is a limit to my comfort level.  I just feel like there is a limit to how at ease I am going to feel with my fellow students; sometimes it is easier than others, but I always know I’m separated from them.  I don’t really have any real “school” friendships, because it would be weird – for them as well as me.  And with this Grenoble program, it does kind of blur the line:  it is an academic program, but there is also a social component.  I remember that from my last study abroad program.  But this time, I’m not going to be comfortable going out with the other students in the program.  After all, I felt awkward at the meeting, for chrissakes!  And lest you think that this is all in my head:  when you were 20 years old, would you have been comfortable being friends with a 36 year old?  Not really.  And on my part, socializing with these kids (for lack of a better word) is as though I’m regressing, not going forward.  And I’m all about the forward motion.  That’s the thing I find weird and off-putting about being back in school – I love class, I love learning, I even enjoy the homework, I’m so damn nerdy – but even though I’m back in school to push myself, to move ahead, to seek out new horizons; the rest of it gives me this creepy feeling of déjà vu.  I don’t want to relieve my past, I don’t want to reclaim my youth, I don’t want to pretend that I’m 19 and my entire life is ahead of me.  That’s a lie, and a sad, delusional one at that.  I actually don’t have a problem with being 36 – well, sometimes I do, but that’s more of an issue about what I’ve done with the previous 36 years, not the actual time spent on Earth (okay, I also have biological clock issues).

The point I think I’m making is that I suspect that talking draws more attention to me than I really want.  The problem is, I do have a lot to say, and it is nearly always germane to the topic under discussion.  I just wish I could figure out how to contribute without feeling like the factory irregular I know that I am.

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