I was trying to find the elusive student center, where I was supposed to get my ID card made- a pass that would identify me as a student at American River Junior College. I randomly asked two beautiful young girls if they knew where it was on the map I was holding, and they quickly let me know I was walking straight toward it – the same building to which they were headed.
“You go here to study, eat and hang out…” the girl with long black hair told me. Her blonde friend just nodded and smiled.
“I need to get my student ID card,” I said. They both looked at each other.
“Do you have a California ID?” the blonde asked me.
“Oh, yeah,” I patted the purse at my side. I noticed that neither one of them were carrying one.
Before entering the office, a heavy-set girl with long, flowing blonde hair greeted us. She was wearing a green vest that identified her as a student helper, assigned to help with traffic flow into the building. She asked us the following questions:
“Are you registered for classes? Do you have a class schedule? Do you have a zero balance on your account? Do you have valid ID?” All of us in line nodded and she waved me in, where I was greeted by another student intern working behind the desk.
“Do you have your student ID number?” she asked me. She was sparkling and pretty and I imagined my granddaughters growing up and doing what she did. I hadn’t yet memorized my number, but was able to read it off of any of the documents I had compiled in the last week.
“Ok!” she said, warily. “You have to go take care of your balance at the financial desk…”
“I just did,” I answered. I didn’t mean to snap, but she looked up at me in repentance. Back in 1981 when I was a first-time student I didn’t have much money and registering for college was a stretch. I went to work instead and was happy when I had checks I could write figures on to pay for things. Whether or not those figures matched the amount of money I had in the bank way back then was another story. Today I used a credit card – backed by my awesome husband’s salary.
“Do you have your receipt?” she asked.
I produced a pink slip of paper and handed it over. She smiled at me, “Good! This is what I need!”
After this, she asked me to sit down on the cushion across from her. It was then I remembered that I rolled out of bed and not put makeup on. Did I comb my hair? All I could think of this morning was “I have to get there early so I can beat the 10:00 student rush!”
“You look great,” she said, sweetly reading my mind. I was grateful for her, making me feel like a fellow student instead of an old cow that didn’t belong there.
I sat down and looked at her.
"Look at the camera," she said - then she snapped it.
Now I’m official.