Humbled and empowered.

Last week was enlightening.

I wrote this last week and meant to get back to it after I had slept. Well things have been hectic and I never did so here it is now. Lots has been happening, hopefully I will have time to write here. Back to my controversial English paper on abortion…

As you know, I have decided to go back to school. Something I have done a few times in my life, but this time I am decidedly the older student. I haven’t been back in a college classroom in over twelve years; next week I turn forty-six. If all goes well I will get my RN at fifty and my BSN at fifty-two, all while working. I have read about the aging brain; its ability to continue to learn. and make new neural pathways much longer than science had thought it could, even a few years ago. While this is true, what does decline is our ability to quickly recall information. We still learn and we can recall what we learn, but not as fast as our younger peers. I have read about this and I knew it was happening to me; hence, my decision to go back to school was partly based on this. The more you use it, the slower you lose it. I want, and like to learn. I knew things would be different, and they are.

I took my biology midterm last week. I was the second oldest person in my class. Half my grade depended on that test. For the first time in my life, I was not one of the first ones done. I normally test well; I don’t have test anxiety. Things were different, I had to reread some of the questions and think a bit about them. There were a few where I even guessed on. All of these things are new to me, so was the feeling I had when I left the class. I didn’t know for sure how I had done. I knew I had passed, but I didn’t really know how I had done. By that afternoon I was able to see my grade, I got a B, just missed an A. Not bad, a B is acceptable. I would have preferred an A, who wouldn’t? It was an interesting day, I have known I was slowing down but it has been gradual, almost imperceptible. The forgetting of minor things, the inability to remember a name, little things like that. But it hit home that day because I was able to see a more marked change; I could compare myself to twelve years ago and see the difference. It is interesting. I am not upset or even particularly bothered by this, it is a fact of life. I can still learn, it just means I will have to adjust the way I study and prepare for tests. And the more I work at it, the better I will become. Realistically this is just the beginning, I am taking a full course load and trying to work full-time. If necessary I will have to cut back on one of those; we will see. Oh, I was able to pull up a report on how I did compared to my classmates. I was in the top twenty percent, not bad for an older student. I can do better though.

More about the other things I learned about myself that week, later. Bedtime, I have been burning the midnight oil a lot this quarter. I need to get more sleep, but there is just so much damn homework!

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17 thoughts on “Humbled and empowered.

  1. This is inspiring! I love that you’re doing this — yay! Thanks for sharing about it. Continue to kick ass at 50, well, at near 50 — I just turned 50 in November, so come on in, the water’s fine.

  2. I think you are awesome..I didn’t attempt college unitl I was 29…worked a full-time high pressure job and went part-time in the mornings and evenings – GAWD it was so hard! I would have been 102 before I achieved my goal and finally gave it up (which is okay for me)..so I find your stories about this very inspiring!

    • Dang WP has been eating my replies again.
      I have my moments when I think I am crazy but I am really glad I am trying this. It has been a learning experience in more than one way. I don’t think I will take three classes and work full time again! If I can cobble together some scholarship money I will cut back on the work, if not then I will have to cut back on the class load. I cannot keep up this pace indefinitely; I will burn out or make myself sick. But I will make it through this quarter and hopefully get decent grades, then I’m sleeping for 72 hours!

  3. Mostly I am just exhausted. I am going to have to find a balance. All I am doing is working and school right now, and that isn’t tenable forever. I need sleep and a life! I am working on it; I hope to find some scholarship money, otherwise I will have to cut the classes back to three quarters or even half time. I don’t want to but if I have to I will.

  4. Boy, do I hear you on this. (Yes I realize I am 10 years younger… BUT) I definitely see a difference in my abilities, from just 8-10 years ago when I started focusing on my Bachelors to now…. Over last weekend I had to write a paper, it.took.me.forever.

    I used to be able to bang them out in no time…. it is okay though, I am still doing ok, sleep deprived at times, and I don’t have much of a life… BUT…. it is the price I pay.

    Hang in there, don’t make yourself sick from not listening when your body tells you enough is enough….(been there…. done that)

    • Thanks for the encouragement!
      I am taking care of myself. Bagged a class today because I wasn’t feeling well and I know if I don’t listen to my body it will make me pay! I have got to figure out the sleep thing. I hope to only take two classes next quarter; I just have to get through the next four weeks first.

  5. I’m quite proud of you, you know?
    For having the courage to be the “Older Student”, and (maybe mostly) for having the ability to see the changes/slowing down of which you speak as what they are . . . natural. So many people these days spend SO much of their time/energy/money/sanity trying to outrun the inevitable. It’s awesome that you’re focusing your energy where you are.

    • Thank you my friend. I can’t out run age but I can throw things in its path to slow it down a bit! I am enjoying school in many ways, I just have to find a balance between it and the rest of my life. I have some more changes coming up in the next few weeks and hopefully they will help me find that place.

      • It’s going. Lent 2 tomorrow so just 5 more weeks to go! I’ll have lost weight by Easter, that’s for sure (which can only be a good thing right now). Although I’ve been asked to present Office in the mornings this week (lead morning prayer, in normal-people-speak) and I’m rather scared by the idea.

          • No, fortunately! It’s just leading a set of responses, canticles and psalms, but it’s all to music and I don’t know the music as well as I’d like to be able to do it well, and it’s making me quite nervous.

            Actually, I think I’d rather be writing a sermon or doing prayers. For some reason, right now, leading the singing is scaring me a lot and I think it’s because I don’t know the music by heart, I’m still reading what’s on the page.

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