This is my first post, and there are roughly 13,734 things running through my scrambled ADD brains right now. Whoever said that distance learning is a unique experience conveniently forgot to add that it can also be an extremely solitary experience. My mind keeps playing flashbacks to my undergraduate days on campus at the University of Delaware (but I will affectionately refer to it as Dela-nowhere from time to time) and at law school at Temple University.
The thing that I always looked forward to at the start of each new semester, believe it or not, was standing in the interminable lines at the campus bookstore. There was just something about getting course books that confirmed (read: validated) my status as a college student. The bookstore, the student lounges, the live interaction with people facing the same struggle…..the college experience somehow felt complete with those on-campus experiences.
So, after my initial elation at being accepted to Leicester’s MSc Finance program as a distance learning student, I was met unceremoniously by reality. There was no bookstore, no student lounge, no other students nearby to share the experience, the struggle. Instead, I was met by a post office delivery man carrying a mutilated carton of course books for the first four modules. OK, it wasn’t exactly like being at the on-campus bookstore, but anticipating the feel of new coursebooks in my hands gave me a temporary rush. After signing on the dotted line, I ripped the box of books from his hands and dashed past the reception area at my office and bounded up two flights of stairs. Once I was in my office, and even before my office door swung shut, I ripped the box open like a 6 year old on Christmas morning, streaming packing peanuts all over the place. As I reveled in the joy of having my pseudo-bookstore experience, I noticed that a small crowd had gathered at my office door to see what all the fuss was about. I exclaimed, “My books are here! I just got my books from University of Leicester!” My boss retorted, “I’ve never seen anyone so happy about getting school books before.”
He didn’t understand. He couldn’t understand. None of them could understand why the moment was significant for me. To them, I was just an idiot going crazy over some books. However, with that postal delivery, I had successfully navigated the 3 hour line at the bookstore and become an official University of Leicester student.
And now the real fun begins…….