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Non-Traditional Enemies

When I was a fresh-faced college kid, the world was surely my oyster (it smelled like seafood and had a small, meaty center). I was new in town, and had no enemies or natural predators. That is, until I started classes. I could hear the sound of my dismay in the distance.

“Clicka-clicka-clicka-clicka-clicka-clicka-clicka” the sound would go, and it grew louder as it came nearer. Students familiar with the sound emptied the hallways, scuttling into classrooms at an alarming rate. I stood speechless it turned the corner, leaving in its wake a trail of Scantrons and complaints.

The Non-Traditional Student

Anyone who has had any college classes knows exactly what I’m talking about. If you have recently attended classes, you probably guessed it already. The “clicka-clicka” sound, of course, refers to a backpack on wheels. Your average non-traditional student always looks like she is on the way to the airport.

Characteristics of the Non-Traditional Student:
1) Backpack on Wheels
2) Water Bottle the Size of an Above-Ground Pool in Hand
3) More Life Experience Than Everyone Else, Paired With the Inability to Keep It to Oneself

God love non-traditional students. They wheel around every book from everyclass every day, no matter what classes they have. By definition, a backpack should not have wheels. A backpack on wheels is LUGGAGE.

Webster defines “non-traditional student” as: n. One who goes back to college after many years in order to earn a degree, wheel around a backpack, and ask a bunch of stupid questions. Not Webster the dictionary guy; Webster Baxter, my alter-alter-ego.

With any luck, you will not be seated near a non-traditional student (NTS). The seat most likely to be occupied by an NTS is in the front row, very middle. These are known as the “obnoxious question seats”. Teachers tend to avoid standing directly in front of these seats, sometimes opting to lecture from an adjoining room.

99.5 times out of 78, an NTS is recently divorced and eager to share the experience in all its gory details. After hearing time and time again how piggish these ex-husbands are, I have decided to become a feminist lesbian libertarian. Also, I disagree with Miley Cyrus’ outfit choices, but I choose to let my teenage daughter listen to her anyway.

The NTS always seems to graduate with a ridiculous GPA of 6.5 or greater. Though not mathematically possible, many teachers will give a grade of “A++++” to avoid ever seeing an NTS again.

By the end of my freshman year, I could hear “clicka-clicka” from 500 feet and duck into a supply closet in plenty of time. I learned how to pick up the scent of hand sanitizer from across the library and blend in with a shelf of Young Adult Fiction with ease.

An NTS has a distinction from the rest of society: despite always having 10 quart-size Ziploc bags of granola and dried fruit, she weighs 350 pounds. The NTS’s body is designed to store up extra fat so that, when the time has come to ask insufferable questions and argue with the teacher, she will be able to do so without sleeping or considering anyone else’s college experience.

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  1. Bob Baxter
    February 12, 2012 at 10:02 pm

    Is this venting, Kyle? This sounds like venting.

  2. Claire
    February 13, 2012 at 6:16 am

    Soooooo true and so funny!! I found myself saying ” my parents aren’t paying for my college to have me hear your sob stories or speculations on the end of the world!” in ever class that had. Non traditional student!

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