My life has become a mess of paperwork, books, and binders lately. I stare at my computer a lot, but instead of Facebook, Yahoo, and YouTube, I have at least three different Word documents open, a dictionary, thesaurus, and the college student portal going. I wonder, at times, how in the world I am going to make it through all of the assignments I have due each week – because, like so many other college students these days, my life doesn’t revolve around school alone (although, at times, it sure feels like it). I am a full-time wife and mom before I am a full-time college student – and it SOMETIMES makes me wonder why I didn’t get all of the school stuff out of the way a long time ago before I was married with kids.
I’m not one to dwell on the past, though – REGRET gets me nowhere. If I HAD finished school 15+ years ago, there’s no telling where I would be. My life would most likely be completely different. AND I would probably be going back to school anyway. Why? Because teaching was a career choice that was never on my radar until I had kids…but, I’m not writing this blog to talk about teaching. I am writing this for all those moms and dads out there who feel overwhelmed by EVERYTHING we have going – especially if you happen to be a “vintage” student.
Let’s go through the cons of being a later-in-life-student-with-a-family…
1. It takes a lot of time. Like we weren’t already short on that before we took 12+ hours of class (with a lot more hours of homework and emailing professors and all of the other things they don’t really tell you about before you start this journey). By the way, I really don’t have time to write this blog either, but it’s therapeutic and I have had it in my head for days now. Had. to. blog.
2. It takes a lot of money. I’m assuming everyone knows this, but the cost of tuition is just the beginning. There’s books, supplies, project fees, trips to the vending machine to get “lidded” drinks, project fees, PRINTER INK, books, gas (if you have to drive far to school), etc., etc., ETC. Did I say books? Ink? OH! And daycare or babysitters if you need them.
3. Hmmmm… I wrote 3. before I had anything in my head. Ah, it takes a lot of brain power that can challenge the vintage student to the max. There are many things I don’t remember from 20 years ago, but I’m hangin’ in there. Now, by the time my husband gets home from work and he wants the answer to something, I usually have nothing for him. “What’s for dinner, you ask? I have no idea. You tell me.” Thinking can be really exhausting sometimes.
Now, for the positive…which I’m much better at. Pros….
1. We are better students. I care more about doing well in school now than I ever did when I was younger. By the time my grades started slipping in junior high, I was too interested in social stuff to care. I am obsessive about checking my grades and I get a tad irritated when a professor hasn’t graded something that I did weeks prior. I also freak out a little when I get a grade below an 85. I should probably get that under control.
2. We are setting good examples for our children. My girls are going to see what I am doing now and it is going to impact them in some way. They might see how hard it is for me to get things done and decide that college will be easier for them BEFORE they have a family to take care of. Who knows – we will have to wait and see.
3. We are empowered with knowledge. This learning is unlike my earlier days because I am more interested in it. I ENJOY it. I feel smarter – and rightfully so. There is a downside to this – my poor husband is tired of hearing me talk about all the “fascinating” things I have learned.
I am thrilled that I have some friends and other parents who are my age who understand the struggle of “getting it all done.” It actually seems that there are more people MY age going to our awesome little community college than any other age – which is great with me! Yes, it IS tough at times, but it will be totally worth it in the end. Life just isn’t as interesting without a challenge, right?
If you are thinking about heading back to school, GO FOR IT! I don’t think you will regret it.