Requested by Lisa

Going To University At 36.

Thanks for the request @Lisa_Fav. Context: this is my first undergrad, I didn't go to university after high school. I have long held insecurities with my intelligence, so this was quite the journey!
  1. You know when you start believing what you hear? That's what happened to me. I never was very studious in high school and my results showed. It's what happened after that, that made the difference.
  2. Following high school, I would hear "Jessica has never really been book smart", or "she's more street smart" (ironic as I've never lived on the streets and run at the mere scent of a fight). "No, she's not cut out for uni". I would shrink inside.
  3. It is in this repetitive cycle of self disbelief that situated my mind in a place of mediocrity for 20 years. I don't ever think I wholly believed I was dumb or unintelligent. It is just when you hear the above remarks repeatedly, it wears heavily on your self-worth, respect and confidence.
  4. Not entirely wrong though, I never was studious. I am intuitive and observant. These attributes have led to comments like, "what's it like going BACK to uni after so long?". People assume I'm already tertiary educated. It truly was a back-handed compliment for me.
  5. I got to the point last year, after a culmination of experiences, that enough was enough. It was time to confront this fear head on. I finally knew what I wanted to study, after years of disillusion. I was finally ready to reward myself with a life I deserve.
    The irony is, I actually failed my entrance exam! It did not hurt this time. I knew it was just one step in a multi-staged process.
  6. I commenced this year as a conditional mature age student at The University of Western Australia. Full time, majoring in Psychology.
    The conditional entry was subject to passing.
  7. I came into this extremely nervously. To be fair, since making the decision to apply and quit full time work, I felt that I was not in command! Yet I was, I was driving it from a place of trust and blind hope. And, it felt right. At my core, it felt very right.
    Remember, though I am a confident woman, this is one area of my life that I absolutely am not. It has taken a lot of courage and trust in myself.
  8. I remained open and soaked in all the advice I could. In fact, the decision to apply to UWA (above other more technical universities) was in part due to advice by a good friend who said that you must love your campus to get the most out of your degree. I had some extremely helpful students coach me on uni life, studying and load-levels.
  9. I've never grown up in a space that encourages critical thinking and yet it seems natural to me. University is a haven for this. I feel rusty at articulating my conversations, yet I am sure I'll improve.
    Especially now that I've enrolled in a Philosophy unit called "defeat your foes with reasoning"!
  10. I think what helped me most was my sincerity, and my openness to my fears. I didn't shroud my insecurity in victimised dialogue or self-deprecation, I was simply sincere and candid with what I didn't know. I worked hard to keep my fear and ego in the back seat, where they both belong.
    I credit that learning to Elizabeth Gilbert, from her book Big Magic.
  11. So for all this, I still wanted to keep life light. As you all know, I've been active on li.st this whole time and in my life as much as a brokeass student can be! It was emotional enough to even get to the point of facing fears and reducing my income to zero! I didn't need life to be all pressure and chaos.
  12. And here is the kicker!.. I've done well! Really well. None more shocked than me.
  13. It was an essay heavy semester and I needed to relearn how to write. In fact, I had to learn how to write at an academic level. Period. I had never (properly) referenced in my life and this semester saw me referencing in Harvard, Oxford and APA! And all manually because I wasn't software savvy!
    Let me just state, I'm all for referencing on principle, however, do we really need all these styles?! Let's just credit each other, yes?!
  14. There was one exam. Exams are my Achilles Heel. Typically where I become unraveled and fall apart. I listened to the advice on how to study for it and went in nervous and calm.
    I don't have the result, but based on my overall result for my Psych unit, I'd imagine I did really well.
  15. Tonight I received my Semester Results. {HUMBLEBRAG ALERT} .. and from a place of pride, I'll share.
  16. Not only have I been accepted as an unconditional student, I've earned confidence to enter Semester Two with. And I'll need it! Not one to shy from my fears, or a challenge, I'm taking a Math unit! I'll need all of my new found confidence!!
  17. If there is any part of you that craves learning, craves fear-crushing, craves doing something different with your lives. Find the means, make it happen. You'll know if it's right, because the feeling will fit perfectly.
    Trust yourself. Back yourself. At the end of the day, you are the only one that really matters.