One nice thing about having my father-in-law work at my alma mater is that when we go in town to visit, it always includes a stop at our old stomping grounds. We’ve been in town almost a week and on our first day drove down to campus for a visit. It was the first day of school! I graduated in 2011, but I feel like I could slip back into school and campus life so easily. I’m not so far removed from this all, right?
Then we stepped foot on campus and I saw my first undergraduate and realized, “dang, I’m old.”
As I looked around at the sea of what looked like high schoolers, I thought, “When did they get so young?” Then I remembered that this year’s Freshman class graduated high school ten years after me. Again, feeling old.
Continuing to walk through campus, I started to worry about my classes that I also started that day. Will I be able to keep up like I did when I started college ten years ago? Having a newborn takes up so much time and energy, when will I be able to study? Am I dumber now than when I graduated with my Bachelors? I really don’t remember APA formatting and don’t want to get docked tons of points because I’m rusty. Do I really want to have deadlines again?
As excited as I am to be in school again, it was easy to have those doubts and fears creep in. I had to give myself a little pep-talk on putting my big girl panties on. I remembered why I’m going back to school: how much I really love being in school and learning, the flexibility my new career will offer when I’m done, the example I want to be for my children, the lifestyle I want to have, the better financial security we’ll have, and the positive impact I want to make in the lives of others with this career path.
I had to tell myself that college was scary the first time and I did really well then, so there’s no reason I won’t do well now.
I’m a wife and mother now, but that doesn’t mean I’m too busy to succeed.
I may be rusty, but I’m not dumb and I know that.
I’m not too old.
It’s not too late.
When I was in school before, there were plenty of people coming back to school who were approaching retirement age. I love hearing the stories at the end of the school year when colleges show their oldest graduate of the year. If a 98-year old grandma can get a Master’s degree, then it really is never too late.
Don’t let yourself get convinced that “you can’t” for whatever reason. Think of all the success you’ve had in life. If you don’t feel like you’ve been particularly successful, then forget the past and think of your future. If you’re older than everyone else, then you have experiences to contribute that they don’t. If you don’t feel as smart as everyone else, just remember that unless they are Sheldon Cooper, they probably feel the same way. If it feels like you’ve been gone too long, think of how good it will feel to stretch that brain in this way again. If you have kids, think of all they’ll learn by you being in school. In the cheesiest-most-sincerest way I can possibly say, you can do it!
Ladies–we got this!
And if you need a little extra motivation on knowing you got it, just look at this 92-year-old woman doing the splits. I saw her do it in person at a basketball game once and it was incredible.