I am excited and terrified at the same time. I have just completed my junior year at College of Charleston, and this summer I am transferring to Clemson. I need three semesters to complete my degree. Starting anything with new people and a new location is challenging but when you are already different (and it is obvious), it becomes daunting.

As a senior citizen, I stand out and not in a good way as in “outstanding.” When I mention that I am at College of Charleston, the inevitable question is, “Oh, what do you teach?” After my first couple of semesters, I got to know students in my major and minor. Neither they nor the professors treat me as though I am different. Professors grade my work just as stringently as they do the others. I sometimes wish they would cut me some slack, but they don’t.

Three years ago, I retired from my nonprofit job in human services and fulfilled a lifelong dream of attending college. I took three classes my first semester to see if I could handle it. I got lost my first day, showed up at class late and was overwhelmed by the end of the day. By the end of the second week, I had fallen in love with college.

My daughter and her husband are moving to the upstate for his job and since I live with them to make going to school financially possible, I will be moving as well. I love the upstate. My best friend lives there. I have been a Clemson fan for a very long time. I sat through every one of the last two minutes, one second of the championship game this year. I proudly wear my orange and purple. Yet, the idea of attending Clemson never entered my mind.

Clemson has a much bigger campus than does College of Charleston. Getting lost is certain. Asking for directions is going to be crucial to my survival. There is new software and programs to use, although so far, they are similar to what I now use. There are unfamiliar faces, and there will be new questions to answer.

I attend orientation on June 21. I hope many of my questions and fears will be resolved during that time. I plan to visit campus several times before classes start to become more familiar with the settings. Since I am registering late, it may be hard to find the classes I need to graduate, but I am confident it will all fall into place.

So, if you see a white-haired lady (with tattoos and looking pretty stylish) walking around campus with a look of wonderment and fear, smile and say hello. If you have any suggestions for making this transition, I would love to hear them.