Concern #5: I haven’t studied for years.
Shake off the cobwebs and start slowly if needed. Consider taking only one or two classes and choose subjects with which you are familiar. Nearly every college has study centers to assist you or tutors to provide more individualized attention. There are plenty of people around for support, so don’t let the fact that you may be a little older prevent you from asking for help.
Concern #4: The thought of college intimidates me.
If you were in college before and it didn’t work out, identify why that happened. Were you involved with the wrong group of friends? Homesick? Or perhaps, you had a tough professor who ruined the experience. When you understand the reason for things not working out before, you can take steps to prevent it from happening again.
If you’ve never been to college, spend time talking with people who have been there. Remember, every new experience has a first day or first time, and you’ve done that thousands of times in your life. Expect there will be a few bumps in the road and remember that these challenges are normal. There is ALWAYS a way through and there is ALWAYS a solution.
Concern #3: I will be surrounded by young people.
Perhaps. One of four students are considered nontraditional, so you may not be as alone as you think. Even if you are, recognize that age is less likely an issue for the other students than it is for you! Join in their conversation and provide that different perspective when you work together on projects or have coffee after class. If you are taking classes online, you may be working on projects and participating in discussion threads with younger people. It’s a good way to keep your mind open to what is happening in a younger age group.
Concern #2: I can’t afford this.
Going to college requires an investment of time and money. It typically pays off pretty well in terms of career and earning capacity. There may be some short-term challenges. You may decide it’s best to work for another year and build up your savings account. Make sure you’ve worked with the financial aid office to identify all the grants and scholarships which can assist you.
Concern #1: There is no way to juggle career, family and school.
Life is likely to feel a bit crazy for a few years until you complete your degree. Clear the less important items from your plate and remember to ask for help. Be gentle with the expectations you have of yourself and realize you won’t be able to fit everything in. Give yourself permission to not be a super hero and make the most of this opportunity.
The bottom line is this. If you want to go to college, you can make this work. There is ALWAYS a way to figure it out. Author John A. Shedd said it well, “A ship is always safe at the shore – but that is not what it is built for.” So, start sailing.