While attending college at any age can be a daunting idea, going back when you are above the average age can cause some anxiety. It certainly did for me.
After high school, I had my first attempt at college before I moved here from Colorado and I failed miserably. With everything as different as it was at that time, and all thrown on my plate at one time, I went crazy! I hardly ever went to class; not sure what I was thinking when I rationalized not going. I even skipped out on taking one of my finals. Slept right through it. After just that one semester, I decided to work full-time until I was mentally and emotionally mature enough to handle the load.
My family and I moved here almost a year ago (December 18 will be a full calendar year), and I applied to Whitewater very shortly after that. Not expecting to get in, I checked my application every day and finally saw that I got in even before I received the congratulatory letter in the mail. I signed up for an orientation that was the closest available date and registered for classes. I was good to go until I started really thinking about it. I am only twenty-two, not too far from the average age of freshman students, but far enough that I did not think I was going to make any friends. I already had no social life until this point, and as much as I love my mother, she was not the only person I wanted to talk to for the rest of my life. I was worried that I would look like a freshman and I desperately did not want that to happen.
Before I knew it, the summer was over, I had found an apartment and a roomate, and I was ready to move to Whitewaer and start my new life as a college student. Holy cow!
Meeting Lynn and the other non-traditional students was such a great resource to have being new on campus, and to Wisconsin in general. It was nice to know that even though I was close to the traditional age, I was not quite there. I should have taken more advantage of the people I met in this class; more time to get to know them and have a conversation. (I recommend face-to-face classes, personally). I saw when there were campus-involvement fairs around the UC and made sure I had a litle bit of time to see what was offered. If anything strikes your fancy, or you are wanting to branch out and learn something new, do not hesitate! You can learn so much from joining a group involved in the school. Some are headed up by students, but usually there is a member of the University staff there as well, which makes it easier.
I use the library ALL THE TIME. Sometimes it is because my apartment has too many distractions, including my roommate, so I need a quiet place to get away. The ways to get help in the library are endless and the people working in it are so friendly and very enthusiastic about helping you.
My one piece of advice that I learned the most from is this: do not write people off because they are younger than you. There are ways to connect with another human on more levels than just having age in common. If you come into, or back into, school with the idea that you are not going to make any friends because everyone is younger than you, or that classes are going to stink because the "kids" are still teenagers, will be detrimental. You can learn from them just as much as they can learn from us! Plus, some professors really enjoy having non-traditional students in their classes - it stimulates conversation!