The Benefits of College in my Thirties


As I drove across town to my Heath Care Law class the other day, I realized I’m enjoying college more the second time around, even though I’m not immersed in the “college experience”.  I don’t live on campus, I don’t participate in any of the activities, and I only attend one class, once a week for two hours in the evening (my other two classes are online).

There are many reasons for this.  For starters, I am less shy and more at ease with making new friends.  I’m not as self-conscious as I used to be.  I feel more confident talking to my professors; I don’t feel I have to “stay under the radar”.  I believe it’s important to make an impression, and that is how I live my life.  Cashiers tend to remember me, as well as former co-workers and customers.  I don’t treat anyone as if they are “just there”.

There was an article that was shared on Facebook by a friend awhile back about how people are happier if they don’t just have good relationships with those closest to them, but also seek to be friendly and engage with people they have casual contact with, even if they only see them once in their life.

Back to school.  I love the technological advances that have come about in education during my fifteen year hiatus, like the convenience of online classes.  Though there is quite a bit more homework when you take an online class (in my experience so far), the games and interactive activities help me remember the material so much more than reading textbooks alone.

However, I still take at least one class on campus, for the on-campus experience alone–it’s like getting the best of both worlds.

Another advantage I have that I didn’t have when I was seventeen was fifteen years of teaching myself the writing craft, which has made writing college papers a snap.  (To tell the truth, I’d rather write five papers than study for one test.  I retain the information better because I apply it, rather than just memorize it.)

The life experience I’ve accumulated has helped me see the bigger picture–that I need a degree to get where I want to go (I grew up in a household where college wasn’t encouraged, where my parents and grandparents had done just fine without a college degree).  When I was graduated from high school, I didn’t know what I wanted to do beyond becoming a best-selling author; as long as I could still do what I loved, I didn’t really care how I spent the rest of my time working.  That has changed.  Knowing what I want a career in (until I do become a bestselling author) has given me the purpose and direction I didn’t have before.

I have inner peace in knowing I am doing the right thing at the right time.