Senioritis, arthritis, what were we just talking about?

By Phil Grech |

I jokingly told my Gargoyle advisor that I have senioritis while inquiring as to what symptoms lead to such a diagnosis. He responded: “Can someone your age have senioritis?”

I’m 30.

That two-word sentence immediately ostracizes me from the college community I am part of as a student. When I was 18, I knew someone who was 29 and all I could think when I looked at him was, “Wow. You were so young once. What happened to you?” I searched online for cures later that day, but nothing came up. Maybe because it was 1939 and there was no Internet.

Now I’m 30. I actually feel better than I did than when I was 18. I’m smarter, healthier, stronger, and I can change a tire faster than an 18-year-old can explain how horrible it is that a three-page paper is due in a week. I had no idea such great times lay before me.

Earlier this year, a few people asked me how old I was. I told them I was 29. Everyone’s knee jerk response was, “Wow! You’re old!” Their response was quicker than a Google search. I accepted the compliment and quickly changed the conversation.

Their response is understandable. The “age thing” is a bit of a gap. But I’m not that old: the average life expectancy of an American is 78 years old. I’m not even half way there.

And I’m not alone. Thirty-eight percent of students enrolled in higher education are over the age of 25 — 25 percent are over the age of 30. These numbers are expected to only increase with time. We’re often called, “non-traditional.”

Still, the experiences one has in his 20s are more impactful than perhaps any other generation. What a person believes at 18 will probably change multiple times by the time he departs his youth to enter the dreadful, crippling age of 30. That’s why I wouldn’t trade in my walker for the wisdom I have now.

Walking around campus, I don’t feel any different from everyone else. I know a lot of my peers — peers not by age, but by academic setting. I study metaphysics, ethics, Thomas Pynchon, and Shakespeare with them. We discuss these topics on relatively the same educational level.

What separates us is that I’ve been paying my own rent, car insurance, gas, groceries, cell phone, utilities, etc. for a decade. Many of my peers still get allowances from their parents. Those who don’t get allowances have only been paying these same bills for a much shorter time.

So, do I have senioritis? Maybe. But it may really be just a misdiagnosis. It might be arthritis! Zing!

I have met some amazing people in college. Many of the professors I have learned from deserve nothing less than an excellent, six-out-of-five-star rating. I believe that I would be at a loss if I received my education from non-Flagler professors (this is not my attempt at a reduced tuition).

Many of the students I have befriended are people who aspire toward greatness and will undoubtedly reach success because of their inherent intelligence complemented by the education they received from Flagler. Many of these students have become true friends of mine whose friendship I wish to maintain until death.

When we do finally reach death, and hopefully none of us do before 30 (or even shortly thereafter), I hope to say I was successful in maintaining and growing these relationships.

I believe that many of the people who jerked their knees upon discovering my arthritis, or senioritis, or whatever it is (I can’t remember anymore at this age), will look back like I have and realize that 30 is nothing more than 18 with a bit more wisdom, intelligence, and strength.

Now it’s time for me to go take my senioritis pills.

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