Monday, June 13, 2011

What's Holding You Back?

I read an article on MSN today about Su Meck, a 45-year old mother of three, who recently went back to school to get her degree. What is so different about Su is that at age 22, she suffered a blow to the head that wiped out her memory. She found herself literally starting over from toddler hood. Now, 23 years later, she has gotten an Associate's degree with plans to continue on and get her Bachelor's. I applaud Su Meck. She did not let her fear of uncertainty hold her back from achieving a goal.

So what's your excuse? "I'm too old!", "I don't remember how to study!", or "I won't fit in." Hogwash!! If you want something bad enough, you will persue it. Su Meck could have said, "This is too hard." But she didn't. I have no doubt there were times when she felt like giving up and giving in. But she didn't.

If your dream is to get your college degree, whether Associate's, Bachelor's, Master's or PhD, what's holding you back? Fear is one of the biggest reasons for not pursuing a degree as a 30, 40, or 50-something potential student. Fear of failure, fear of rejection, fear of one's self - these are all reasons given for not returning to school as an "older" person.

Fear of failure: Everyone fails. How do you handle it? Do you let failure cripple you or do you let failure be your teacher? Thomas Edison failed over 1,000 times before he invented the incandescent light bulb. Did he see those 1,000 times as failures? No. He saw them as experiments that didn't work.

Fear of rejection: Like the genie tells Aladdin in Disney's "Aladdin", "Beee yourself!" You will not get along with everyone and some younger folks may be freaked out that someone their mom or dad's age is sitting in class with them. That is their problem, not yours. I made friends with my classmates by just being me - a 40-something mother of three who loves to learn.

Fear of one's self: You don't know your limitations until you push them. You don't know what you're capable of until you try. You don't know how strong you are until you stand in the midst of a storm. Trust yourself. Don't look at past mistakes, failures, etc. Those are gone and you can't change them. Look to today and tomorrow. Do the best you can and then do even better. Challenge yourself. Trust yourself.

Yes, going to back to school as an older person is a risk - financially, emotionally and physically. Taking a risk is like standing on the high dive at the pool looking down. Are you going to jump or not? My advice? Close your eyes, hold your nose and JUMP!! Scream all the way down if you have to! Once you do it, you'll be able to do it again and not be so afraid. Don't allow fear to rob you of achieving your goals.

So what's holding you back?? JUMP!!! Stay tuned . . . .


Groovymum said...

I just finished my first part time year of a degree at the age of 35! I'm glad I had family and friends to push me! Now that I've started, nothing can hold me back! Not even a lack of money!

Douglas said...

Those are words of wisdom. As a 58-year-old non-traditional student, I've also needed to release myself from a lot of anxieties.

I might take issue with one point. I think that for many of us, returning to school is a correction of some early problem or mistake; in my case it was very strong ADHD. And understanding what the problem was the first time around can be important in resolving it now.

Congrats on graduating!