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MAW: Middle Aged Women

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Jessica Suarez
By Jessica Suarez
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Thursday September 5, 2002

My friend Bob and I are sitting in class together talking. We could be reading. We could be learning. But a woman, middle-aged, up front and center, is asking some irrelevant question that are taking up the professor's time.

"Ohhh, yeeaaaah," she says, once the answer has been explained to her in detail ¸ as if she knew it the whole time and was just testing the professor.

"Yeah, they were talking about it on ╬Rosie' this morning," I say.

"No, she doesn't watch ╬Rosie,' because ╬Rosie's' out of the closet. She's a les-bi-an now," Bob says.

This is how we make fun of middle-aged women in our classes. And as Bob and other friends have said, there's one in every class. She arrives 15 minutes early to every class, with a pull-cart.

She brings a laptop and a PDA. She sits up front. She asks lots of questions. She questions the answers, and she won't stop talking.

There are other equally annoying archetypes in every class. There's the dating couple that doesn't stop arguing or showing affection in class. There's the guy who hits on girls in your class, especially when you're working in small groups. There's the girl who shows up late and tries to be chummy with all her professors (that's me). But it's the middle-aged women who seem to get to my friends the most.

My aunt is one of these women. Although she's been working professionally for years, she decided to go back to school last semester. She was assigned a philosophy paper in which she had to prove the existence of a table. I asked her what she wrote in her paper.

"I just wrote that it's there, you know. It's there. I see it and I can touch it. What do you mean it's not real?" she says, annoyed.

I never asked her what she got on her paper.

So maybe it's their unending stream of questions that make these women ÷ and for some reason, they're always women÷ so annoying. Maybe it's the fact that said questions can often move the class into overtime.

My dad didn't go to college until I was past the first grade. He completed his master's degree when I was just about to enter middle school. He was a middle-aged student, and while he might not have been the kind of middle-aged student I'm talking about here, I always felt a little bad for him, having to navigate through a sea of punk-ass college kids while juggling a full-time job and dealing with another punk-ass kid ÷ me.

While older students don't seem to bug me as much as other people ÷ and I have heard of class-wide chants of, "shut up" thrown towards the class's official Middle Aged Woman ÷ they do make me feel a little uncomfortable sometimes. They're my parents' age. They could tell me what to do, and I would probably do it. Maybe, that's why they question the professors and TAs so much. If I was being taught by a 14-year-old, ÷ someone significantly younger than me ÷ then I would question their judgment too, no matter how smart they were.

So, don't mind jerks like me in your classes. But just please, please, please stop asking so many questions during class. Some are fine. Some are wonderful. But save some for after class. Save some for e-mail. Save some to ponder when you're retired and far, far away from this campus, Ma'am.

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