No, that's not why things are strange, although my puffy down coat and my sensible shoes and my tendency to dress like my own grandmother are certainly not helping things. Mostly I am finding myself slightly wigged out because I keep running into people I know, people I haven't seen in a long time, and I just don't know who I'm going to run into next.
I picked this particular college for graduate school largely because their M.Ed. program is well-regarded -- my aunt, herself a teacher, is the one who recommended it -- and also in part because it is significantly less expensive than other programs I looked into, and while I may be insane, I am not stupid. Since I had to take out student loans in order to pay for everything, I couldn't really justify the higher price tag for the big deal, big name, big ticket, big city school.
Also: that other program was entirely online, and let's face it, I simply cannot be trusted to maintain my focus for any length of time when I am in such close proximity to LOLcats.
So in addition to quality, cost, and actually being in a classroom, the one other thing that I considered was location. This school is about halfway between my house and my parents', and when I have classes at night, I can get there from work in just about an hour. This is wonderful, because it means that my days don't need to be any longer than they already are. (My night classes go from 6-9 twice a week, so those days are basically 16 hours long, but at least I have time in between work and driving and class to sit down somewhere and have dinner like a civilized person.)
But one of the things I never thought to consider is that going to a local college means that there would be the distinct possibility that other people might be choosing the college for the same reasons. It's close to where I grew up -- which means it's also close to where I used to be on the Y swim team ... which may explain how it turns out that my former swimming coach from 20-some odd years ago is now my academic advisor.
It also makes it close to where a lot of my family lived at one time, and still lives ... which may explain how it turns out that one of my cousins, who I last saw 13 years ago when my husband and I were in marriage preparation class, is also a student there.
Now, it's highly likely that these things are just coincidences. I mean, I didn't grow up in that big a town, or anything. But what are the odds that of all the gin joints in all the world, so to speak, that I would run into two people from past like that within just a few days of each other? Is this place some sort of a convergence point for all the "lost memories" of my past? Who else is there that I might run into?