Mature Student Desperately Seeking Balance

SOMETIMES, about every other week or so, I can hear myself screaming internally…  “Help, I’m too old for school! What am I doing? I am losing my mind!”  But the help I need never comes - not from outside sources, anyway.

 

SOUL-SEARCH

For years, I felt the job I worked held no real meaning or incentive for me.  Money was no longer a focal point because at the end of the day, I was very unhappy with it (the day, not the money).  So, I decided to return to college but not before I did a lot of soul searching or discussed the possibility with my family.  They weren’t the most encouraging, and I can’t say that I blamed them because materialistically, I couldn’t afford to reduce our income and especially not for the long-term demands of attending college.  But I consciously made the decision to sacrifice a little happiness and security in the present so that I wouldn’t have to sacrifice greatly with my future.  My justification, bills are always going to be there and no matter how old they get, my children are always going to place their needs and demands on me.  As for my intimate relationship, ultimately, the one I will always have to live with is the relationship between me and my God.  So, my new fiancé could either like my decision or lump through it.  Happily, he and my son eventually came around and now provide me a good support system – most of the time.  (Some complaints for my time can’t be avoided.)

 

CONCENTRATE

Even in the mist of personal, financial or relationship chaos, I don’t let anything break my concentration for more than an hour or two, seriously!   At times, I have cried for an hour over something HE said or did not say, did or did not do, BUT in the face of an assignment or test deadline, the well dries up until a more convenient time is available.  Robotic or not, I have learned how to shut down the flood gates by reiterating to myself that I’ll hurt more if I allow my studies to join the destruction and by promising myself and the problem that I’ll deal with it or HIM hard and square right after my assignment. In short, when everything around me seems to unravel, that is precisely the time when I kick my concentration level to its highest.  I’ll read and reread a chapter until my focus is back in the zone.

 

FOCUS

I nurse myself through near break-down experiences by simply reminding myself of the life and career I’ve always imagined.  Then I fight my way through another hectic schedule of family responsibilities, paper assignments and testing.  Did I mention that I commute 4 hours to college every weekend?  Yep, I live near Savannah, Georgia but the University I attend is in Atlanta, Georgia.  But I am determined to do everything in my power to live my life to its fullest and to achieve what I was too blinded or misguided to achieve in my youth.  After a long secretarial career and a short real estate sales career, after raising a family, after a divorce and now a fast ascent on the empty nester syndrome, I have returned to college to obtain a Masters Degree in International Business with Modern Languages.  I WILL influence policies, both, foreign and domestic.  I WILL travel abroad and teach English as a second language.  I am so determined and focused that the only thing to keep me from my long-awaited dream becoming a reality is death.  (But even then, I Will sing heavenly songs in foreign languages! :D)  Whenever events or people pose a threat to my old-turned-new-again college venture, I refer to a journal I keep of clear detailed goals and it rejuvenates my desires, helps me maintain my focus and keeps me on track.

 

ORGANIZE

As previously stated, I find that focusing on a clear goal helps keep me on track so I apply the same method to my school work.  I go to the library or student center everyday in order to get my homework done uninterrupted by family and to assuage desires to goof off.  After I get settled in behind my laptop, I pull out an assignment log for all of my classes and plan my day accordingly.  This is what my daily routine looks like: up in the morning, strength training, library, errands, face book connection and now hub pages, household chores and then I run the stairs at home to get in a little cardio before I bed down for the night.  This routine is unyielding except during my weekend commute; on those days it’s off to college, student center and then home to bed!  Whenever or if ever I don’t have an assigned agenda for the day, I’ll either study ahead, give my son some extra time (if he’s around, usually when I make time for him, he doesn’t have time for me - teenagers!) or I’ll revisit goals and refresh my plan of attack.

The stress of this strict routine that I’ve been keeping up for the past year is at times very, very overbearing.  I may seem overly dogmatic, but the reward is I have been on the Dean’s list for the past two consecutive semesters earning straight A’s on the last!  The downside, I find my emotional dimension seriously in lack as my hectic routine has not allowed time for spiritual growth.  But, I am seriously working on fixing that because I know I need a never ending source of strength to pull off this plan of mine!  And although I try to make up for a diminished social life through face booking, I miss hanging out with family and friends more than I can ever write or say.

 

PERSEVERE

Despite all that I may be lacking in the course of my educational pursuit, I will NEVER give up!  And I encourage all of you out there to take up the good fight with me whether you are my kid’s age, my age or older - fight to achieve every one of your goals against all odds. Good scholarship and best wishes to you!

Here are some links to a few articles that I think could be very helpful to a student in quest of success.

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