(hang with me on this one, although it is not really education focused...)
This morning, after waking up groggy from our staff holiday party the night before, I headed to meet my jumpers for our yearly clinic. A team of competitive jumpers drives down every year from a nearby state (we pay them) to help us with our skills. I stood there watching them interact with my team and found myself becoming defensive. How dare they judge us like that, I think, sure it is because of the vast diversity of my team. How we don't have fancy uniforms, some of our kids don't have good shoes, there is no Nike clothing to work out in, and some don't speak English. As I had these disgruntled thoughts I realized I was judging their team for their Norwegian blond looks, matching jackets and bags, and general yuppiness. The song "Everybody's a Little Bit Racist" began playing in my head and I ran to my cell phone to text my husband to remind him to get tickets to the play Avenue Q tonight.
Thank goodness I did. It is brilliant. I feel like something in my life has come full circle. Healing, almost. Perhaps it is because I was raised on Sesame Street (my parents lied to us and told us PBS was the only channel we got on our remote-less tv). So in a very (very) odd way it felt natural and healthy to have puppets, digital images, and peppy songs delivering the message about the ups and downs of those first post-college years.
If you are not familiar with Avenue Q it is a Broadway Music featuring singing puppets suffering through their first post college years. Just as Sesame Street helped my generation learn its abcs with our early social skills, Avenue Q helps my generation understand that we are not alone in our transition into the real world.
The first time I heard the Avenue Q soundtrack, specifically the song, "I want to go back to College" I had recently graduated from college myself. I had a "text-to-self" connection with a song that reminded me of the soulful song of my youth, "I don't want to live on the moon" sung by Ernie. I almost cried. "Yes!" I wanted to shout to the world. "I COULD be in the computer lab right now! Or in the quad, knowing who I am! Yes, it sucks to be me!" (Quotes from the songs if you are unfamiliar with Avenue Q).
A few years later I finally got to see the actual production. It was still fabulous, but I found myself with lingering existential thoughts the entire time. How life has changed since I went through those stages myself. I no longer felt the urge to wave my hand in the air in the "I have a connection" motion we teach the kids to make. And with that came a scary thought... does this mean I have passed into the world of being grown-up? Am I so old that I no longer identify with the post-college blues? I can relate, but only in the past tense.
My brothers are seniors in college this year. I considered buying the soundtrack for them for Christmas, but realize they wont fully appreciate the puppets' wisdom yet. They still have the hopes and dreams that come from college. Next year though, it will be on my shopping list.