A few weeks ago I received an email from the “Mature Students Network” at Algonquin College inviting me to a Mature Students Network Meeting and today was the day. I assumed that the gathering would consist of at most ten people sitting around in a circle in a small and dark room, but I arrived to see a hundred people milling about a large, bright room with two large projectors on either side. After sitting down next to a friendly looking woman who is pursuing Library Studies, the coordinators of Mature Students Network talked about things like student cards, accounts, support associations, class exemptions, etc.
Networking was particularly stressed, obviously given that it’s part of their name, and they gave us five minutes to talk to someone in our immediate location. The guy in front of me turned around and we chatted a bit, he pretty much echoed everything that I’ve been feeling and when the conversation turned to going to school with 17 and 18-year-olds he groaned: “God, yes, it’s going to be tough. I mean I’m older, y’know, older!”
Curious, I asked “How old are you?”
I laughed and said “Well I’m 31!” to which he backtracked a bit and clarified: “Notice, I did say ‘older’, not old”
Well that’s good, because what’s one year older than old? 😉
In all honesty, I’ve been trying to get past the whole “age thing”, and groups like these have been really helpful. I’m not so arrogant to think that I’m the only one over the age of 25 going back to school, but to see the sheer number of people trying to better their lives and not letting something like age get in their way, well it’s pretty frickin amazing!
After the meeting was adjourned, I took the coordinator’s advice and picked up my student card and my bus pass. All I need now is a laptop and books and I’m all set! It’s been eight years since I went to school full-time and I’m intimidated, but a little less so after the meeting today!