Sincerely, a Thirty Year-Old Student

Oh hey! It’s been a little while…

Can I put out there that it’s already spring? Where did the winter season go? Oh, right, it ended prematurely when I signed up for five courses and field work this semester. I’ve been pretty wrapped up in my books, assignments, papers, tests, and/or the procrastination of lately, and I haven’t made time to sit down and write. I’ve opened up my blog, logged in, stared at the screen – wondering if I should post about a trip, an idea, some thoughts – and then I’ve walked away from it.

I’ll be wrapping up the semester in just a few weeks, and I’ve noticed a pretty solid theme of ‘holy crap, I’m getting old’. Spending my days with 20-something year olds (or younger!) is weighing on me. Especially when I have to disclose my age in a conversation, during a project, or when I need to explain that the 20%-worth of our group paper is important to me because I’m not 18, I can’t afford the time to do it again. I’ve had countless ‘yup, I’m definitely in my 30s, not in my 20s anymore’ moments and each has been a stark reminder that I’ve got at least two more years to go. 

I’ve been thinking a lot about my age with respect to my time. I’ve been thinking about how I use my time vs. how I’d like to use it. I’ve questioned my program of choice (all four years of it), the required courses vs. what I want to learn vs. what I think I need to learn, and I’ve certainly questioned all the time I have NOT spent in the mountains so far this year.

I recently talked to (complained to) a friend about how I’m getting sick of school and the copious amounts of information I try hard to learn, that I’ll never have to use again. Ever. And all the time I’ve poured into learning this info. It’s a little hard to swallow sometimes. My friend told me this, “…look at school like any other business decision, does the investment pay off?“. (Fun fact, I was a commercial banker in the past so putting anything into business context tends to make things crystal clear.)

His question triggered a series of realizations that I think I’ve always known, but lost sight of during the semester:

  1. I’m closer in age with some profs than I am with students – this has lead to awesome relationships.
  2. Not ALL the content is THAT bad. A moderate amount of it may be deemed useful in the future.
  3. Most training certifications of interest require me to complete my program. There’s no way around it.

In my biased opinion, those are some solid reasons to stick around and keep doing what I’ve been doing. My friend gave me the hope I was not expecting to get, and helped put things back into perspective. I realized a few more things; when I lost sight of the ‘why’, I became pessimistic about almost everything, including: lost time, course content, my age, the lack of adventures in my world, and loads more.

You’re probably thinking this seems like a selfish conversation to be having when I’ve had the luxury of quitting my job, going back to school, and setting my own goals & working towards them. And you’re right. Thanks for the reminder.

Funny how a bad day can turn into a bad week can turn into a bad month, and before you know it, you lose sight of basic things. I’m glad I got all of this down on the computer screen. I can look back at it this summer when I’m annoyed about studying the foetal pig dissection.

Speaking of summer, it’s time to get back my sunny disposition. I’m pretty sure I left it somewhere in the mountains.

– Ash

2 Comments on “Sincerely, a Thirty Year-Old Student

  1. This made me laugh because I had some of the same feelings when I finished my Master’s degree when I was 43. My son was the same age as some of the students in my classes and I was older (by a decade) than some of the profs. Sure, I couldn’t always relate to the students and my adult life added some interesting challenges to group work but achieving a personal goal and contributing to the pool of knowledge made it worthwhile. Chin up, the sun will shine again and you’ll soon be in the mountains.

    • I wonder what’s worse, not being able to relate to the students? Or being able to relate to them? Good to hear you survived. Thanks for the note Eryne :). I suspect things will be easier once I cross the halfway mark.

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