Nontraditional Student Adjusting to Dorm Life

090507discroommateUNCA, MONDAY — Jim Bailey, like a many freshmen at UNCA, is making lots of friends in his new dormitory, but is also having to adjust to sharing a closet-sized living area with a stranger.

“My wife thought it would be nice if I took some courses in my spare time,” said the 54- year-old mortgage lender from his twin bed. “I thought, ‘Why take just one course a semester? Why not take one course a semester and live on campus?’”

When not downing espressos to fuel his late-night cramming sessions for the Tuesday/Thursday freshman seminar class he is presently enrolled in, Bailey likes to stroll around the Quad in his Crocs and search out fellow freshmen to toss around the ol’ Frisbee.

“I’ve come very close to meeting some other nice students,” said Bailey, who often sits outside the computer lab with his acoustic guitar and picks out Bob Marley tunes. “Surprisingly few people want to help to sing these songs of freedom.”

Bailey’s roommate, 18-year-old Scott Thompson from Charleston, S.C., wishes that “Mr. Bailey” would stop waking him in the middle of the night and asking if Scott wants to get under a makeshift fort made of bedsheets with a flashlight and talk about girls.

“I don’t mean to be a dick, but this guy has a huge home like two miles from here,” said Thompson. “It’s not all bad, though. He keeps these hard butterscotch candies in his fanny pack, and he gives me loads of them, so that’s cool. And buys liquor for everyone, so, you know.”