Last September, I went back to university. I applied and was a little stunned when I was accepted onto the course. And, true to form, I spent the intermediate months working myself into a frantic ball of worry. By the time term came around, I was adamant I wasn’t going.
But go, I did. I walked tentatively into the room, sat on an empty chair, looking at people in groups, and people like me, by themselves and wondering. I talked to people. I made new friends. And so far, it’s changed my world.
My bubble started and ended at retail management, via a few words, a little blog, a sadly-defunct personal training career, and a whole lotta worry. I thought my mind was open. I thought I saw where I could go. But those beliefs were limiting my world view, and I didn’t even know it.
I graduated at 21, back in those halcyon days where the extent of worry was how many blue WKD’s I’d drunk the night before. Now, at 34, returning to uni was daunting. I’d not so much as looked at anything remotely ‘academic’ in the intervening time. Getting a student card? Being one of the ‘older’ people on the course? STATISTICS?
But I have surprised myself. I love the course. Love it. Even though I haven’t grown out of the whole ‘do the essay the day before it’s due in” thing (I just work better that way!) I’m actually doing ok, so far. I even understand some of the numbers part, which is rather surprising. I did an exam, and didn’t just write my name and walk out, which was how I previously tackled them.
So, what’s my point? I think it’s that people change, you change, I change, we all change. I am a very different person to that frustrated 21-year-old, bored with forced writing and looking harshly into a corporate future. At 34, I thought I was settled in a life of comfort, easiness. A part-time job with it’s own challenges, but also a strange sort of comforting familiarity. And I stagnated, and fell down, down, down. In that small bubble, my thoughts circled in the stale air. University was a pin that popped that rainbow film and opened my eyes to new colours.
I didn’t know myself, even though I thought I did. Familiarity and an easy life – I had it made, my thoughts told me this was what I was destined for. I wrote about it at length, right here on this blog. And then, unexpectedly, I found a new breath of air. I found a challenge and found myself thriving. I found a new self.
A self that thrives on a new level of conversation. A brain that likes to be challenged. A person who is considering continuing to study further, for interest, for passion, for fulfillment. It’s a little weird. But I like it.
At 34, I’m still growing.