Airports are a weird limbo to me. You’re pretty much helpless there waiting. Waiting in the security line, waiting for them to announce your flight, waiting for your shuttle or taxi to arrive. Nothing is happening but you have the potential energy of something about to happen. Get on with it, already!
It hasn’t always been like that. I used to go to the airport and feel the same kind of feeling you get when you open a new book. A new adventure awaits. Who knows who you might meet, what you might experience or see. You can’t wait to start a new chapter. The excitement and anticipation and the opening of myself to new experiences.
I had that same feeling of vastness the late summer of 1986 when my parents drove me off to college. Back-to-school season was always special to me but that first semester of college exploded my imagination with excitement. I felt it again when I returned to college as a non-traditional student after raising my my daughters to school age themselves. We shared so many wonderful first-day-of-school days in those years. All three of us full of excitement, potential, and possibility.
All that was some 20 years ago. Now I face going back to school for a second degree. It wasn’t easy navigating the seedy world of online, for profit colleges. I’m lucky, I found a non-profit college with a reputable distance-learning program. My career has taken me on a wonderful adventure. I am where I never dreamed I would be in my professional life. Now I need the educational credentials to back it up. Unlike getting my first degree, I’m not going to school to prepare for my future. I’m going to school to back-fill the credentials and education I somehow made it to my future without. And I don’t like it, it’s uncomfortable. I have my nursing degree and a curriculum vitae as long as my arm full of literature, music and biology. But as a clinical learning consultant at an international company, that’s no longer enough. It’s time to cobble those 108 credit hours into a degree of some kind. If I take a full-time course load (and do nothing else but work and go to school) I can finish a BA Humanities concentrating in communications by this time next year.
School, as a non-traditional student, feels like being stuck at the airport of life. Waiting at the gate. Going through the stress of carrying a career’s worth of baggage through the narrow isles of classes focused on specialized topics. Nebulous degree requirements fade in and out of focus as quietly as TSA rules. I don’t have that delightful sense of discovery just the exasperation of negotiating a delayed flight. Still, it must be done to eventually get wherever I’m going.
I successfully avoided the for-profit quagmire but now that I’m an enrolled student, I long to recapture that erudite “back-to-school” excitement. I got a cardigan with the college name and logo over the left breast and a skirt and scarf in the school colors. I even got matching argyle socks. My school girl get-up may look a little silly on a 47 year old woman. It’s more like an early Halloween costume than a statement of school spirit. But it helped me cultivate a little inner excitement about going back to school. It was kind of fun to let my inner co-ed out to explore.
So now I’m asking you for ideas. I need help. My inner school girl has been bullied by the corporate world and needs to recapture that sense of intellectual adventure. What advice do you have for a middle aged woman going back to college for a second degree?
Read ~ Write ~ Wander
~AngieAdd a comment