Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Going to School With Your Children

No, this is not a post about how to be a good PTA mom. This is a post about being on the same college campus as your children or being in college at the same time as your children.

Starting at the end of August, all my children will be in college. I will be in my last year (hopefully) and will be graduating in May of 2011. That's when my oldest son is also supposed to graduate with his MA in Communications Studies.

This is quite a unique experience - being in college with my children. I enjoy that I am able to relate to their woes about assignments, exams and papers. I can encourage them to hang in there and tough it out because I really do know what they are going through. We can rejoice together when we get good grades, mourn when we don't and relate to early morning coffee runs after late nights or all-nighters. This is a different kind of connection with my children. I am still mom, but I feel more like a peer.

Which brings me to my next thought. I have posted before about reasons people hesitate to return to school. One of the most common is fear. I think another reason people hesitate to return to school is embarrassment - visibly being the oldest person in the classroom. That's okay. As a matter of fact, I have seen more and more nontraditional students on campus. We are not such a rarity anymore.

I am beginning to feel more comfortable being an older student on the college campus. For a long time, I felt rather self conscious. Now, though, I have gotten to the point where I am not afraid to participate in class. In fact, it's fun to "show off" a bit when the other students don't have a clue about what the prof is lecturing on and I do because I read the book!

What are some good things about being an older student?
1. You really have "been there, done that".
2. You don't freak out as easily.
3. You don't need to do stupid things to get noticed - your gray hair says it all.
4. You know the answer to most of the questions the prof asks.
5. You drink coffee instead of Red Bull.
6. You know the true cost of your education.
7. You get the prof's jokes.
8. The only person you're out to impress is yourself.
9. You know the difference between the "small stuff" and the "big stuff" and you know how not to sweat the small stuff and how to handle the big stuff.
10. You can have a beer after your last final.

Being an older student is a challenge, but it's fun. It's even more fun when you share the same campus as your children. "That's your MOM?" Yes, and fellow student. Stay tuned . . .

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