Monday, June 9, 2008

IUP Student Experience

Coming to IUP from a small liberal arts university has been a bit of an adjustment. Finding buildings, for example, is a skill I lived without until June 1. The Co-Op, too, is an actual retail establishment, compared to the small, four-walled cubby where two types of t-shirts and a mug constitute the "merchandise" section of the store.

Beyond the spacial experiences, I'm developing a deep, however affectionate, resentment for my fellow students who stay near IUP. The idea that they can walk home after a day of "isms" and has created such an enormous level of envy in me that I nearly sobbed when Jessica offered to let me study at her place during the week. I'm being extra nice to Jessica so that she won't rescind the offer ;-). Aside from the overall resentment/envy thing, I like this group of students and faculty. I like the ideas that seem to flow easily from these rooms.

The other major impact being a student at IUP is having on me surrounds the issue of my family. My husband, three sons and I are still working out the kinks related to this level of commitment; that is, it's been a while since I had to bar the door of my room (part time bedroom, part time office) from the natural noises of an autistic household. For us, unpredictable screaming or loud echoing of Disney film dialogue is the norm. My youngest son is the one with the neurological disorder, but we've all been so deeply shaped by this that it's a fair statement to call us an "autistic" family. And although disability reigns over the house, a close second on the insanity scale is teenage life (including smells that are often unidentifiable). Since last Monday, all of our heads are reeling from the major adjustment of having a member of our world in a doctoral program while laundry still needs to be done (remember the smells?), kids still need to go wherever kids go (by car, these days) and so on. Bret (my husband) and I will work it out (we've managed worse).


Jessica said...

The offer stands. I may not cook or have a tv. But I am an expert grilled cheese maker.

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