When I tell people I'm studying for university finals, the response is often, "Why would you do that to yourself?"
Perhaps I do have a tinge of masochism in me, but the truth is I love everything about it: The studying, the stress, the commiseration with classmates. I didn't HAVE to go back to school. I WANTED to go back, and I feel very lucky and happy. Why? Because apparently at 40 my brain can still feel a sense of wonder.
Full disclosure: I'm "pursuing" (preferred word to "doing") my Masters in Greek and Roman Studies. I'm studying dead languages, and ancient history and literature. Let's not pretend for a moment this is practical. It is, however, incredibly beautiful and stimulating. I love feeling a connection to texts that are over 2,000 years old. I love the Sudoku-like feeling I get after untangling and translating really complicated phrases. Wow, I'm a nerd.
If I'm having a stressful day, an intense hour at school helps me to refocus and relax. My time on campus and my time with books, students, and profs is for me. It's my own little world. My family has been very supportive, and I never tire of hearing my kids say, "Have a good day at school, Mom!"
Unexpected discovery: Being around young students makes me appreciate being, ahem, OLDer. My classmates may not have crows' feet, but they also don't have cars, housing, money, or a stable relationship. Unlike my younger classmates, I don't have to justify my degree to anyone. Nobody ever asks me what I'm going to be when I grow up. I'm already an educator, a Mom, a wife. Funny enough, I find myself wondering where this degree will take me next. You never know.
p.s. Wish me luck on my final tomorrow!