Life Of A 40 Year Old Freshmen

Photo By: Daniel Bowyer / Graphics By: Diana Parra-Garcia

Photo By: Daniel Bowyer / Graphics By: Diana Parra-Garcia

I have finally realized that I'm not the only more seasoned person on campus. When I applied for Santa Monica College I quickly thought that I would only see young and energetic people on campus. However, on my first day I met many people on my level of life.

Whenever I make eye contact with a fellow SMC student my age or older, there always seems to be two quick reactions: A huge grin and a sudden hello as if to say, "Wow! There is someone else who looks like me!" Now of course we older SMC students not only have life experience underneath our belt, we also have totally different views on life and our educational goals.

Earlier this past April, I was at a place in my life where the old “schedule as usual” was no longer working for me. I took a wide look over my life and realized that for the past 3 years I was on the path of dead-end jobs both temporary and permanent. I was in a place of constant frustration and feeling incomplete due to not being able to hold a job.

Even though I am well educated with professional skills and experience, it seemed that I just could not catch a break. One afternoon while writing in my own personal diary, I had an epiphany, and in that moment of awakening I was challenged to move forward to a greater place in life.

Knowing that I have been writing since I was a child, both songs and poetry, I then realized and affirmed myself that it was time to tap into my natural gifts as a writer that have been with me the whole life. I knew that I had to disrupt my personal comfort zone and break forth into a higher place of consciousness. Finally, after the answer came to me and I then decided to apply for college.

You may think that I was lost in my emotions thinking about how I would be perceived or viewed by a plethora of young people that are full of life, energy and vitality, as opposed to a salt-and-pepper-haired older gentleman that would stick out like a sore thumb on any college campus. Surprisingly, I really did not have time to worry about such things at SMC. All I knew is that there was only time for making a move towards great success through the many doors of education. Time was of the essence, and I knew that spending time thinking rather than making things happen was only going to hold me back.

While exploring SMC, my attention was captured by a vibrant woman with neon pink hair. Rotonda Maunu was a freshman like me, but 53 years of age. She too decided to venture out of her comfort zone and find new grounds. Rotonda told me that becoming a student here at SMC was one of the greatest decisions that she ever made and that she feels alive again. Out of all of the great words of wisdom and inspiration that she shared with me there was one phrase of words that rung aloud within my soul. “If you’re not growing, you’ll die,” she told me.

Education is key to life and one should continually feed themselves with knowledge. Meeting Rotonda inspired me beyond words and revealed to me that I was not alone. Now of course I had many questions about my major, if was I ready or not, how many classes I could handle, time management, transferring, etc. My reply to those questions would always be “I don’t know.” For in my 40 years of living I have found out that it’s okay not to have all of the answers, but just as long as one keeps moving forward, one's feet and consistency will lead them to their greatest purpose and destiny fulfilled.

Now that I am here I feel like I am in the right position to elevate myself in the field of education and pursue the world like I have always dreamed of. While in the process of applying for college and talking with the wonderful counselors here at SMC, the goals for my journey in education became clear. I am now majoring in Journalism, with a future as an entertainment journalist. I'm so excited because I can finally see the light at the end of the tunnel . For so long I lived in the realm of “survival” just to get by but now as a student at SMC, the sky is no longer the limit and my opportunities will be endless.

I want to encourage all the other seasoned students here at SMC; we have made the choice and we have taken the proper steps to unveil a new and improved greater world for ourselves. We know that age is not a factor and the only person that can block or stop our dreams from coming true is us. We hold the power to completely transform our lives in a positive yet major way. Take advantage of every opportunity. Study like crazy and enhance yourselves with every ounce of knowledge and education that you can. Write the life plans for your lives with every class and association that you involve yourself with. Make positive connections with the people who are going in the same direction as you.

Even at this age and level of our lives, see yourself everywhere you need and want to be. Most of all, take the limits off, reach higher and grow stronger on purpose and by design. Become so engulfed in building your new future that by the time you have reached the finish line you will have become more than what you dreamed of. See you on graduation day!