May 10th, 2008 was my official boomers finish college day. I received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Interdisciplinary Studies with an emphasis on English and Sociology. At 58 years of age this was no joke. It was more than a milestone for me. It was a generational leap. Before I explain why I bothered to finish this heady feat, some background of why I didn't finish college back in the days.

In 1968 the world was a very different place, as far as popular culture thoughts went. Communication wasn't instant like it is now, and even though words spoken person to person are still meaningful, back in those days they weren't instantly shared globally either. My generation was full of change. Some of us were war warriors who left the country to practice conscientious objection. Some of us (many of us) smoked cannabis, opium, hash, dropped acid, and other non-prescribed drugs. Mostly we rallied against, for, whatever, we rallied. Change and fearlessness was the order of the day, via peace, sit-ins and love.

baby boomer cartoon

Two incidents stand out for my fleeing from that damned degree. The first one was an insult from a T.A. I wanted to do well in a class, so I visited with the T.A. and put forth an effort at understanding whatever confused me. I told him that I wanted to succeed at this course. Then I left and went to work - at a fast food place near the campus. I was busily doing my job when I heard a snickering voice exclaim that, " yeah, I really wanted to succeed." I looked up and saw the T.A. belittle me. It was so humiliating, and more shocking than anything. I believed I was doing all I could- I didn't exactly come from wealth- no one paid my college fees - I had to work and take out loans. I was devastated. I felt less than.

The next incident involved an assignment that was a huge portion of the grade. I loved the course and decided to go the extra mile for the assignment. It was about how to teach certain things. I wrote a play of the teacher and students with explicit instructions, and a setting and scenes. It allowed for questions from the students too. I thought it was quite excellent. I turned it in, and it was returned with a very low grade. I couldn't believe it. I approached the teacher and she told me that it was the best paper she received, but it wasn't what she asked for. I left in tears.

Neither incident is an excuse for leaving college, but it sure increased my anti-establishment views. Now boomers finish college because of many reasons. Why this boomer finished is because she just couldn't leave it on the table any longer. Not when one of her daughters finished with flying colors. Nope, the life got in the way business was over. Now it was time for me to allow myself to continue a life learning love and regardless of age, finish college.

Auckland museum