Use it or lose it: your brain, that is

Going Back To College

by  Carnie of Carnation Way

I made the decision to return to school just a little over two months ago. I had spent all of 2009 in a serious funk/depression. Daughter and I had always been extremely close (how could we NOT be? I quit a career to stay home and raise my only child), and she was with a guy that was having a negative influence on her. He had a crappy family life and was very anti-parents and his negativity rubbed off on Daughter. All of a sudden I was the enemy. I’m ashamed to say that I didn’t handle it very well.  However, I got to the place where I realized my relationship with my daughter was never going to be the same, and I had to move on with my life. But what to do?

I have always been geared toward the medical field. I had been an EMT and a medical assistant in the past, but neither of those jobs appealed to me anymore. Really, I was afraid of making the wrong decision. At the age of 43, I didn’t want to start down a road, using up precious time and money, and then realizing it was a road I didn’t want to be on after all. I became paralyzed and couldn’t make a decision. Finally, one day I sat down and just wrote down what I love: helping and taking care of people, animals, English and literature, writing, psychology, old people. After much thought I realized that I indeed had a strong desire to pursue nursing, but I was denying it because I had no confidence that I could do well enough in the math and science courses to make it into the program. I thought about what I would say to Daughter–or anyone for that matter–if they came to me with the same mindset and concerns. I would tell her, you have to try.

I was really nervous about returning to school. My last college class had been in 2001 when I was 35 and still had a brain. Nine years later I thought I was fooling myself thinking I could go back to college and succeed at my age, to do well enough to be considered for one of the few highly coveted slots in the nursing program. With the support of Husband, I decided to go for it.

The cut-off for applying for the nursing program that begins in the fall is April 1st, and  I know there is a strong possibility that I will not get in.  Rather than feeling like I had nothing to work toward, I decided to have a Plan B: a Bachelor of Science in Gerontology from the State University. I am in the process of applying to that college now.

In the meantime, I am over the “deer in the headlights” feeling I had for the first month of classes. I never thought I was going to memorize where my classes were, and taking sixteen credit hours has been a huge adjustment.   Things are settling down a bit now, and I can really feel my mind creaking back to life. Truly, those brains of ours are “use it or lose it” creations.


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