The Quest for Knowledge

Nibbled at by some persistent demon, it has occurred to me that I really would like to go back to college and get my B.A. Possibly a Master’s as well. At the tender age of 66.

I live less than 40 miles from UC Berkeley. Not only that, but I’m a former Berkeley student (for two quarters in 1969). If they can find my student ID number (not guaranteed — probably on microfilm in the basement), I qualify as a returning student. I can apply this week and start classes in the fall.

But there’s a fly in the ointment. More like a wart hog, actually. (Visual: wart hog in the ointment. Let’s not go there.) UC Berkeley is not a commuter school. There are something like 800 parking spaces to serve 20,000 students. On top of which, as a music student, I would often need to carry my cello. The nearest and most convenient parking garage (which might, on any given day, be full) is too far from the music department for a 66-year-old to carry a cello.

The music department has lockers. The most likely solution will be for me to rent a barely adequate cello ($70 per month for a couple of years, thereby adding a cool $1,500 or so to the cost of attending school) and leave it in the locker. But the parking situation is still dismal.

Riding BART in from Dublin is not an option. As a male over 65, I sometimes need quick access to a restroom (or at least to a place where I can pull off the highway for a minute). No, I’ll be driving.

Hey, how about parking on the street a mile from campus and riding the bus? Sounds like a swell idea. The 49 bus runs right up College Ave. to the campus. But most of Berkeley’s residential neighborhoods, including those that lie along the 49 line, are parking-controlled. Two-hour limit unless you have a resident sticker.

Contrast this with Cal State East Bay. It’s a commuter school. Plentiful student parking within 200 yards of your classroom. And the commute from Livermore is shorter. Trouble is, Cal State is not really a wonderful school. You can get a degree there, no problem, but if you want an actual education UC would be a far better choice.

Maybe I can charter a daily helicopter.

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3 Responses to The Quest for Knowledge

  1. Will says:

    I went back at the young age of 45 as a returning student at the Santa Cruz campus after dropping out of Berkeley 25 years before. It was terrific, but then I had no parking problems. I loved being an older student and the young folk were very supportive.

    • midiguru says:

      Parking … turns out there’s a new garage on the east side of the campus, not a UC facility but privately owned. A reserved space is $180 per month. This sounds bad, but it works out to only twice what I’d pay for a student parking permit in a university lot, which would NOT be for a reserved space. Plus, it occurs to me that this whole deal, including the mileage on the car, may be tax-deductible.

      I was tutoring some young students (20ish) at Las Positas today, and they’re great. Of course, I’m in the mentor position there, so I get respect.

  2. Mike Zimmerman says:

    Jim,
    Sounds like a noble effort! How about sending a letter/email to the music dept chair and see what happens? You may just be the instrument/person/motivator they seek! Who knows? They may hire YOU! mz

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