Feeling Old in Grad School

I can’t help but feel old these days, even though I know the feeling is environmental. It’s because I’m nearing 33 years old (wow!) and I spend much of my days surrounded by undergrads. I’m a graduate student in writing at UCLA, and I am constantly surrounded by eighteen to twenty two year-olds. There are 29,663 undergrads at UCLA, so you can imagine how packed the campus is.

Unlike a lot of grad students, I’m on campus everyday because I have a part-time job at the college library. So I happen to be in the undergrad scene every day. It feels funny to be standing on line at Jamba Juice getting a smoothie with half of the undergrad gymnastics team or getting solicited to join the various campus groups (Acapella, anyone?). Like I’m perpetually stuck in this very specific time period of life. The experience has been disorienting, to say the least. It doesn’t help that I also spent four years post-college working at an arts college in Manhattan called SVA (The School of Visual Arts). I was 25 when I started my job there, so I felt like a “recent grad” myself. Working at SVA was fun and exciting, and made the transition to the real world somewhat smoother. But, it seems like the background of my life narrative these past years seems to be the world of academia…

While I wouldn’t want to be surrounded by only thirty-somethings, I do feel like I miss the diversity of various age groups – from younger to older folks. But, with grad school, you take the good with the bad. I love my program, and I’m at least surrounded by this absolutely magnificent campus.

Look familiar? UCLA’s campus is used in tons of movies and TV shows, most recently Royce Hall (lowest photo) was featured on The Mindy Project.


Have you been to graduate school? How did it feel for you?


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