You've reached the conclusion that it’s time to go back to school and embrace adult education.
By making the decision, you’ve already cleared one hurdle, and now you can start sorting out your priorities. Among other things, you’ll have to find the right program, plan your budget, and figure out when you’ll have time to study and work on your assignments.
But even after you’ve solved the cost and time commitment conundrums, how do you get over the intangibles? How do you get past the worry that you’re too old; that you won’t fit in?
Everyone has their own way of dealing with these anxieties.
Making profound change in your life can be an emotionally taxing experience, though you shouldn’t let those feelings discourage you. Here are four common fears that you can overcome:
1. Worrying About the Wrong Things
Worrying that your classmates are too different in age or personality from you won’t get you any closer to a degree. Besides, technology has transformed the modern classroom into an online learning experience where your focus will be on your assignments. If you still feel out of place, you shouldn’t. According to U.S. News and World Report, several of their “Best Colleges” rankings included schools in which the majority of the student body was 25 or older.
2. Fear of Wasting Time
You’re there to learn. That’s all that matters. You might have partied harder than “Bluto” Blutarsky during your first college experience, but now you’ve got some wisdom. Your party days are behind you, and you’ve learned time is a valuable -- and irreplaceable – commodity. Chances are you’ll stay motivated and work harder than ever to get through school, earn your degree, and start the next chapter of your life.
3. Concern About Your Family
You’ve made the decision that your degree is your ticket to get ahead in your current career or start a brand new one, but you're considering the impact on your family and friends. Know that you’ll be an inspiration to them when they see what you’ve accomplished at this later stage of your life. And you’ll join a community of lifelong learners who hope to motivate others through their success.
4. Feeling Alone
Take solace in knowing that you’re not the only busy adult going back to college, and won’t be the only one in your courses. The majority – 74% – of all college students are non-traditional, meaning they’re attending college at another time or in a different capacity than a post-high-school student would. Furthermore, non-traditional students tend to be happier, overall.
The bottom line: don’t be afraid to learn new things. Adult education doesn’t have to be scary. You’ve already convinced yourself it’s necessary to get you to a better place. Stick to your plan, stay on top of your studies, be prepared, and you’ll have nothing to worry about.
Written by University Staff