College bound ... again

Being on a college campus without actually being a student is an interesting experience. Today marks only the second day of the fall semester, but I'm already feeling the familiar anticipation of a fresh start and a renewed eagerness to learn. Being surrounded by masses of dapper, wide-eyed freshmen makes me feel a bit regretful that I didn't enjoy my own college experience to its fullest potential. Sure, I liked college, performed well and had a pretty solid group of friends, but I wish I had taken better advantage of the resources attending a Big 10 university provided. Had I maintained a better handle on my finances and not had to work 2 jobs, I probably could have indulged in more opportunities, gotten even better grades and cultivated deeper relationships.

In 2008: Celebrating my last day of college and my first day of
being a responsible, productive member of society ... at a bar.
But hey, you live and you learn. Being around these young people (yes, these college freshman have done nothing but make me feel OLD. When a thug-looking kid bumped into me because he was too busy texting to see where he was going, I mentally scolded him as an "inconsiderate whippersnapper".) is already inspiring me to nurture the part of me that will forever be a student wanting explore my interests and satisfy my curiosities. I accidentally gave away my only catalog of non-credit "fun" classes the college offers, but I did briefly thumb through it and already found several courses I would love to take. Whiskey making? A history of Hollywood? Let me just put on my nerd glasses and sign up!

Our office is located right next to the school's bookstore and for the past two days, a rather hearty line of students has snaked past our door. On several occasions I've caught myself looking out the window and observing the students, longing for the days when I could get away with strolling around campus in yoga pants with a messy bun bobbing on top of my head. Don't get me wrong, I still have the freedom to do so and I exercise that right often, but it's not too cute of a look as an adult. (Apparently age is directly proportional to hygiene expectations.)  After envying the shabby-chic looking girls in the hallway, I shifted uncomfortably in my wrap dress and continued working.

Our office is also right down the hallway from the nursing department, and I stupidly scared the dickens out myself thinking that the dummies laying in hospital beds were real patients in need of medical care. I kid you not, the first time I noticed the EXTREMELY lifelike mannequin ... person ... thing ... laying on a bed in a dark corner of the room while a classroom full of women chatted with their backs to him, I did a double-take and almost yelled, "WHAT ARE YOU DOING!? THAT AMBIGUOUS LOOKING MAN NEEDS HELP! YOU GUYS ARE TERRIBLE NURSES!" But just as quickly as I initially freaked out, I realized I'm stupid and no one in their right mind would let unlicensed nursing students work on actual living bodies.

Then I did the exact same thing again the next morning. ... It's going to be a long semester.

Since we're required to park at a business up the street for the first few weeks of classes, it takes me about 10 minutes to walk to and from the building. This means that my hour-long lunch break is even shorter than normal because making the uphill hike to my car eats up a lot of my time. I was in a rush this afternoon, but I still managed to whip up a quick batch of hummus before I went back to the office. I'm telling ya, if you have any kind of positive feelings towards vegetables and chick peas, hummus is a perfect solution for a healthy meal. I've been feeling a little "meh" lately about my diet because people keep ordering the college employees pizza (who am I to turn down a bread stick?), and finally eating something substantial and non-greasy made my tummy sooooo happy!

Speaking of my tummy, this new position requires me to be in the office slightly earlier in the morning than I'm used to. For normal people, waking up a half hour earlier is no big deal, but for me, getting up at 6:30 a.m. is like asking me to stay up all night running hill repeats on Mt. Everest. I don't drink coffee but once or twice a week, but I'm having such a pathetically hard time waking up in the morning that I've been pouring myself large, steaming cups of java as soon as I walk through the office door.

And it's positively wreaking havoc on my insides. I don't know when my stomach and intestines got together and decided they hated coffee and everything it stands for, but my stomach ends up hurting so bad that I've been coming home and laying on the floor in the fetal position in order to make it feel better. The reaction is delayed, too. For several hours, well into the afternoon, I feel absolutely fine. I think, "Alright! Yesterday must have been a fluke." But then, right around 2:30 p.m. my stomach is like, "No wait, I've changed my mind. I reject the coffee you fed me earlier."

And then I find myself laying on the floor with a bloated tummy that makes me look like a little Courtney Buddah.

So I've decided to ixnay coffee for now. I have far too much pride to buy special coffee for losers with sensitive innards again. I can't even enjoy Starbucks' without having to unbutton my pants a few hours later. I'm breaking up with coffee because it clearly doesn't want to be with me anymore ...

Aside from copious amounts of caffeine, how do you wake yourself up in the morning?