This was my dilemma when I decided that it was high time I bit the bullet and finally accepted my offer for University. After 6 years out of school and earning a full-time income that allowed me the social and financial freedom that I love, I still couldn’t help but feel my professional life was lacking. I wanted a career, not just a job. This is easier said than done of course, as there are many sacrifices that I needed to make in order to get the career ball rolling.
Still, it was very daunting making the big decision to return to student life! I had so many thoughts and emotions running through my mind; will I be able to do it? How will I survive on part-time wages again? What are the people going to be like? Am I going to make new friends? Is the social scene really all it’s cracked up to be? Am I scared? Excited? Nervous? If I’m honest, it was all of the above.
Regardless of the mile-a-minute thought process, I can say with complete confidence that returning to my studies was one of the BEST decisions I had ever made (and for those who know me, you’ll be surprised to hear the social scene has had no influence whatsoever on this)! I have discovered things about myself that I never thought possible and in the process found that all the thoughts and emotions bubbling beneath the surface for so many years (that had not been fully appreciated until very recently) were now able to be put to good use. My passions and life experiences have allowed me the opportunity to tackle my fear of the unknown and allowed me to take that giant leap of faith that is slowly (but, surely) paving the path towards a career, not just a mind-numbing office job, but a fulfilling career that will take me to new heights and allow me to challenge myself on a daily basis!
For anyone who is considering going down the mature aged pathway, my greatest piece of advice to you would be to JUST DO IT. In 2011 41% of students were aged 25-64 years, so whether you are 25 or 45, age is irrelevant when it comes to beginning that next chapter in your academic life. Your fellow students are friendly, lecturers are your greatest ally and the friends and networks you create are priceless. Personally I feel that beginning my studies at a later stage has made me a better student, not only do I appreciate my time and experiences at University but it has made me a more attentive, driven student who strives for nothing but the best in my work and grades (and even then that’s not always good enough). Having tackled my fear of the unknown, I hope this final thought can help you do the same!
“Fear and anxiety many times indicates that we are moving in a positive direction, out of the safe confines of our comfort zone, and in the direction of our true purpose.”
― Charles F. Glassman