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!