Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Back-to-school lesson for a 40-something

Some days I feel older than others. Days when I can hear the bones of my feet creaking as I get out of bed and move across the floor. When business dictates that I go to the University of Indianapolis campus (my office is a few miles away), I imagine that I blend in with the stream of students walking across campus. But the truth is, I am old enough to be their mother and I look every bit of that part.

Yet, this semester I am falling into step with these students, taking my place in a college course. It's an online graduate course in grant writing. And going back to school -- even for just one class -- after almost 20 years is a bit frightening to me.

I printed the syllabus this morning. All 10 pages of it. I ordered my books (four of them) and looked over the list of additional provided readings. I noted the required participation in discussion forums, lesson reflections, current event sharings. I got nervous at the description of the course's final project.

"What have I done?" I thought. "I haven't gone to school in 20 years. Maybe I'm too old for this?"

But this isn't advanced molecular chemistry. It's grant writing. It's something I've had a part of dozens of times in the course of this job. The online delivery isn't intimidating to me. I can navigate my way online with the best of them.

So what if the last time I went to school I owned a self-correcting typewriter instead of a computer? Who cares if I never e-mailed an instructor...because e-mail didn't exist when I was in college? I'm sure there will be things that I need to refresh my memory on or to learn for the first time.

Usually when I think of "all things aging," I think of people older than me. People the age of my parents and grandparents. But considering that my recent birthday made me one year older (as birthdays tend to do), I have no choice but to admit that I am aging, too. But it's ok. Just because I'm an old dog doesn't mean I can't learn a few new tricks.

Amy Magan
Communications Manager