Not Too Cool for School


Dear Dharma,

I’m about to go back to school after many years in the workforce. This is something that I’ve been thinking about doing for several years now and I’m very excited to finally be doing it. I know I’ll do well in the classes and I’m not worried about studying or exams.

There is one thing that I’m worried about and I’m a little embarrassed to say it. What if I’m not cool? I remember some of the “mature students” when I was in university the first time around. They often weren’t as social and didn’t really interact with the rest of us early 20-somethings. I guess they probably felt they didn’t have too much in common with us, which I can relate to now being in that position. However, won’t that be lonely?

What if no one talks to me because they think I’m some weird 30-something trying to hang out with the cool kids in their 20s? Does anyone under the age of 30 even say “cool” anymore?

Is this something I should even be worried about?

Back to School Blues

Dear School Blues,

Ever seen the Hot in Cleveland episode where Joy goes back to college?  She’s desperate to fit in with the cool kids and tosses around zingers like, “Just chillaxin’ keepin’ it real, gettin’ my homework on!”

So right away, don’t do that, and you’ll be alright.

Of course it’s something that’s going to be on your mind – everybody wants to fit in and be accepted. Thinking you might be a social outcast in this situation would be a bit nerve wracking, I understand completely.

I think you just need to put it all into perspective.

They call it a “mature student” for a reason – you’re there for career advancement and personal growth.  You’re correct in thinking the young ones probably aren’t going to flock to you, so don’t be disappointed if you don’t get invited to underground raves at the nearby warehouse.

The thing is, though, do you really want to be?  When you go back to school as a mature student, you’re not going back for the social aspect, and you’re not there to repeat your 20’s.

That doesn’t mean you won’t make friends.  I really can’t imagine you will be the only person over 30 in attendance.  And all friendships take time to build, so just let things happen naturally around you.

Keep in mind that you have a lot to offer the overall class setting, regardless of age… You’ve got loads of experience and exposure to the world that only comes with a few years under your belt.  I wouldn’t be surprised if some of them start seeking you out to get your viewpoint on things…

So go in prepared to learn, prepared to share, and prepared to make friends… or not.  Just try to chillax, you know, keep it real, and get your homework on…



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