Here's a bit of a back story about me. I got my Associate's Degree when I was 17 through concurrent enrollment, distance learning and AP classes in my high schools. I first enrolled at BYU as a junior at age 17 in 2004. I was terrified. I had to pick a major RIGHT THEN and I had no idea what I wanted to be or do. I was 17! I was suffering hard from undiagnosed social anxiety and generalized anxiety disorders and depression. I tried to attend my classes on campus but I couldn't. I literally could not make myself go. I would arrive on campus and have panic attacks in the library. Thus, I failed out of my first semester of (real) college.
Although I did attend BYU's London Study Abroad program through the converging of the planets and no less than 12 miraculous acts of God.
So in many ways, this is my first semester at BYU. For reals. Because it's the first time I've actually attended classes on campus.
Although I was close to dropping out last Tuesday just from sheer exhaustion (this is the first time since Sparrow was born I've had a waking-up schedule... at 6 a.m. every day...), Hawk made me stay enrolled. He wants me to finish out the semester. After adjusting to the week, so do I.
One thing that's awesome about me attending now is that I don't have to play the stupid BYU games. I don't have to play the "I need to get married, date me!" game that seemed so prevalent to me when I was a teenager. Now that I'm older and wiser, or maybe just that 8 years have passed, it doesn't seem quite so pressurized to me as it used to. But man, I used to dread going to church because it was all "Get married! ASAP!" And I didn't want to get married. I never thought I would get married. Now I'm like a BYU success story - join a BYU club, meet a group of friends, start dating a guy, get married 8 months later BAM.
Don't get me wrong. It's hard. I do wish I had done this when I was a teenager instead of failing out. But I also appreciate BYU so much more now. I appreciate the opportunity I have to be there a million times more than I did 8 years ago. I am so grateful every second of every day that I am on campus and that tuition is so low and that my teachers are amazing and that I'm not the terrified rabbit of a girl that I was last time I was on campus. I mean, I can actually make comments in class now! I even volunteered to give the opening prayer in my Spanish class tomorrow, despite the fact that the only thing I can say in Spanish that sounds vaguely prayerlike is "ayudamos!" (help us!) Ayudame indeed.
I'm even doing my homework ahead of time. Instead of procrastinating till the class period before its due.
Guys, there may be something to this higher education as an older person.
I put so much pressure on myself to be the best; to graduate as young as possible. I thought I stood out because of my age and I wanted to be known as a young graduate. Now I'm okay being known as an old graduate, just so long as I'm a graduate.