What the hell am I thinking, going back to school at my age? I won’t lie; I am so nervous about this choice, that, well, let’s just say it’s a good thing I can take the course at home near a washroom because the thought of going back to school makes me nauseous. Knowing I will have homework, lessons, required readings, discussions, and exams, both excites me and also terrifies me. I know. I know. Everyone says that you’re never too old to learn. In theory, I believe this to be true, yet at the same time, my forty-something-plus brain is completely different from when I first went to university nearly two decades ago, when I could actually remember things!
When I was in university, so many years ago, we had huge monitors and desktop computers that stayed in the classroom. We didn’t have computers at home, and if we did, we had dial-up Internet, which took 18 hours to log into. There were no laptops. There were no iPads. There was no two-factor authentication. There were no cameras on iPhones. I remember actually taking handwritten notes, which I kept in binders, and I could cram to get my assignments in, pulling all-nighters, studying for an exam the next day.
Now, I can’t remember where I put my much-needed cheap drugstore reading glasses, which I usually find… on my head. The font size that I use is as large as a small animal. And, nowadays, I usually go to bed at the same time as my 7-year-old, at around 9 p.m. So, yeah, I’m not sure about adding school work and studying into my life, a life that already often makes me feel like a professional juggler, I have so many balls in the air.
Things have changed so much, that it took me almost an entire day – I’m talking 8 straight hours – to even figure out how to enrol in this course, since everything is online, nowadays. Once I managed to enrol and look at the detailed course outline and what we will be studying each week, I had to Google search the meaning of the word “module,” which I realized was a fancy way of saying the “unit” we will be studying, each week. Yes, my midlife brain screamed, “Why couldn’t they just say ‘In this ‘UNIT!’”
I feel I’ve become sort of stupid over the past 15 years, and have learned, thanks to having children, to tune out unnecessary noise, allowing my brain to only hold onto things I think are important. So, now, I will have to remember not just my kid’s school schedules, but also my own.
At present, my 16-year-old daughter, Rowan, is at her computer, distance learning by listening to her Grade 11 physics teacher. My 7-year-old son, in Grade two, is now playing video games on his laptop, after completing his homework for the day. And me? I, too, am sitting at my desk, having just completed my first assignment. I think I sent it in right, but, to tell you the truth, I have no idea if I had done the assignment properly, and I’m equally worried that I didn’t send it back properly because there are so many different online threads, groups and discussions, that make my head spin.
No, I’m not doing this impulsively and, no, this is not Covid-related. I didn’t decide to go back to school, just because I have time on my hands. In fact, even though I lost 5 jobs in 72 hours, a few weeks ago, they are trickling back. New paying opportunities have started to present themselves, and I actually am busy working, not just on my next book, but here at Savvy and writing for other publications. Because you know, kids need to eat, and their feet continue to grow another size every few months, and eventually, they will be going back to their extracurricular activities. (Also, this Mommy/Mature Student needs to get her hair done every three weeks, and the occasional Botox shot because I’m starting to get wrinkles, although that could BE because I AM already a mature mom, too, having my second baby at age 40.)
I don’t know how I am going to handle all of this. I really don’t. Obviously, I can’t give up my children and I like spending time with them, even if I’m mostly their personal assistants and drivers. Obviously I want to be a present girlfriend. (I told my 56-year-old boyfriend he can boast to all his friends that he’s now dating a university student! Come on, it’s FUNNY!)
So, I guess, I’ll just give up showering, because, again, I really don’t know how I am going to do this all, yet, at the same time, I do think I can do it all. Maybe I’m just crazy?
But I didn’t decide to go back to school, because I am having a mid-life crisis, although I can’t rule that out entirely, since I AM actually in mid-life. I do, in my head, have an end goal, to eventually, maybe, possibly make a career change into another industry, an industry, mind you, that is not thriving, and, if anything is dying. So maybe I really am crazy?
But it’s something I’m truly passionate about. Enrolling as a mature student for this course is something that I, eventually, may want to earn a living actually doing. I mean, I love art, but I’m not taking an art history class, because, again, this is not just for fun or because I need a hobby.
In this article, Going Back To College After 50: The New Normal? it seems a lot of adults are making this decision, and it isn’t an easy one. “While going back to school later in life isn’t the right choice for everyone, it’s becoming an increasingly attractive option, as more adults choose to delay retirement, the workforce becomes even more competitive and career shifts become more common,” it reads, while also sharing reasons many adults go back to school, way later in life. “Many adults find themselves decades into their career paths and realize they’d like to spend the last of their working years doing something completely different. Others retire and discover they want to find a job. Still, others find themselves out of work because their duties have been outsourced or rendered obsolete by new technologies. For adults looking to pursue a second-chapter career in a new field, a degree is often the best way to develop the necessary skills.”
I know these next handful of months will be challenging, and, yes, I already feel the pressure.
My teenage daughter, who loves to learn, is excited for me, but she’s also in la-la teenage land, so I don’t really think she gets it. When I told my 7-year-old that I will be doing homework just like him, he responded, “Why? School is SO boring!,” to which, of course, I responded, “You’re never too old to go back to school!”
Realistically, only time will tell, if this is true. But right now? I really need to go ask my teen daughter how to log into my new school email address.
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