I didn't do anything for a long time. Then, finally, after a lot of poking and prodding from my family, I decided to go back to school and do what I had wanted to do in the first place.
Filling out the application was a lark and getting accepted was a breeze. The problem was that the university wasn't sure what to do with me. I already had two degrees and they weren't sure how to classify me. They still aren't sure. But I got enrolled.
My first class was this past May. A three week summer class in Post Colonial Literature. I was incredibly anxious... okay, terrified. All I could picture was a classroom full of eighteen year old children that had gone to school with my daughter. I was going to be that old person. I remember seeing older people in my classes back when I was first going to school. Everyone looked at them like they had three heads or like they were going to morph into something dreadful at any moment.
I was pleasantly surprised. I fit right in and even made some friends. Granted, this was an upper division class and the "kids" were in their early to mid twenties but still, I wasn't the three headed oddity. I knew I had done well but there was also a subjective component to the class grading.
Then there was the final. I did a presentation on Beach of Falesa by Robert Louis Stevenson. I had to learn how to do a Powerpoint. Crap. My daughter helped me figure it out. They never had this stuff when I was first in school. Hell, I had used a typewriter the first time around. Ah, technology - bane and blessing.
So here's what I've got to say to those of you that are considering going back to college at 30, 40, 50 or even 60.
Swallow those fears about being the oldest one in class. God knows, if I could do it, you can do it. We older students are what the university considers "non-traditional." We are embraced and welcomed. I found that my professors appreciate the opinions of someone with life experience. It brings another level of depth and understanding to class discussions. We know things and think of things that the average college student, inexperienced in life, can not to see or consider.
We are there because we understand the value of education. We take the classes seriously and we do our best work because it means something more to us at our age. I've got a lot more to say about this last thing but I'm going to save it for another post.
Just remember, you are never too old to go back to college. If I can do it, you can too. I'd love to hear from anyone that has gone back to school. What was it like for you?