Wednesday, October 23, 2013
Ask Isa: "How do I calm my nerves as a returning adult student?"
From the Ask Isa Inbox:
This is for students who have been out of school for over 15 years: How do calm your aniexty? I feel so scared and nervous because I don't want to feel like the old, dumb lady in class.
Over the Hill
Dear Over the Hill,
Actually, let's change your name...
Dear Amazing Go-Getter,
Congratulations on going back to college! All students feel nervous before starting college, and I know the nerves can be even greater for non-traditional students returning to school after some time.
However, I want to let you know that you are one of the main reasons I fell in love with community colleges. While I was traditional age when I started community college, many of my friends were older. And here's the thing...
I didn't really notice.
There's something beautifully democratic and equalizing about the classroom environment; in my experience, age became hazy and we were all just students trying to learn.
Here are some things that I hope will help calm your nerves:
1) Remember that you are doing something many other adults dream of doing but let that (understandable) fear get in the way of taking that first step. Take a moment and allow yourself to be proud of what you've done so far.
2) Sit in the front of the class and do all of your homework. You have just as much skill and potential as everyone else in the class. Hard work, not age, will determine success.
3) Visit each professor and explain your anxiety. Ask for their advice. I've only ever heard professors speak highly of their adult students - they often love their motivation and diligence.
4) Join a club that interests you and get involved on campus. Though adult students often have more responsibilities outside of the classroom, I've still seen many find the time to become club leaders and win amazing scholarships. It's also a great way to begin to get more comfortable.
5) Find other non-traditional students and share your stories. Some campuses have clubs just for adult students. You are not alone, and it can be very comforting to find other students in your situation. Don't hide your anxiety but instead be open and share it with others. You'll be surprised to find out most in your situation are feeling the same way, and those who are younger will often exclaim they don't even think of you as "old" but just as their classmate.
Best of luck in this new endeavor. I applaud you for taking this big step; it's exciting! You are what community colleges are all about.
And remember that nerves usually mean you're about to do something important.
Any non-traditional students out there? Please share what helped you calm your nerves and succeed in the comments or on the Facebook page!