I'm in my third quarter right now, at a community college here in Seattle studying Medical Assisting.
It's been 25 years since the last time I was in college. Things that are the same now as then? There's a ton of homework and I have to study pretty hard to stay on top of it. I still feel a bit like an outsider (but for very different reasons), but that's really about all that's the same.
The last time I was in school there were no personal computers, netbooks, iPhones, Androids or fax machines. We used copy machines and actual ditto machines to make copies. Papers were typed (on an Olivetti or Selectric II - who remembers those?) and notes were taken with pencil and paper.
Online classes did not exist (most of my classes now are a hybrid of on-line and in-class lecture). Study groups met in person, not in Google Hangouts.
I don't remember a lot of folks who are my age now in college back in the early 1980's. I'm sure they were there, they were just not on my radar. An interesting observation of my fellow older students - we all seem to drag rolling cases around campus which our younger compatriots never do. Maybe its because we've more experience. Or maybe its that our backs hurt.
I'm in school to train for my (at least) third career. I'm on unemployment and food stamps which is paying for my tuition and books. It wouldn't be possible for me to be training into Medical Assisting without this social safety net. Worker retraining is absolutely essential for my family getting out of the poverty hole we are in. With the retraining I have the potential to earn a living wage starting next year. Without it, well I don't really want to think about where we will be without it.
The issues coming up in this election about the direction of the country and how we spend our money has direct and potentially dire effects on families like mine.
I've been joking to my fellow students that I go to school every quarter century. I wonder what will be new in education when I go back again when I'm 75! Will I be telling stories to the young things then about thumb drives and smart phones? Who knows. Maybe by then instead of dragging a rolling cart along we will have antigrav bags which will follow behind us like pets on a leash.
Unless we break the social compact to care for one another by voting against our own interests. In which case there will be no school for me, and likely not for those children being born now who will be looking for college in that future. Look at your kids and your grandkids folks. This election is really about them.