Are you ready for grad school after 50?
You are making changes in your life, BIG changes. Maybe you are headed back to school, grad school to be precise. You have decided to level up for your career, or you might be in a season of purposeful pivoting.
Do you have what it takes to grind and graduate if you are over 50?
According to this article, only 8% of grad students are over the age of 50. Hey- that’s me! Basically there is a better chance of finding a pot of gold at a rainbows end then to be enrolled in grad school over the age of 50. Guess that makes us Unicorns- and Unicorns are cool!
So what does it take to go back to school after 50? And what can you expect if you do decide to go back?
Here is my top five list of things to know about going back to school after the age of 50.
Top Five Things To Know About Going Back to School After 50
· You will feel old- between technology and clothing, most students over the age of 50 feel a smidge out of touch. Maybe you can’t navigate all the amazing apps or figure out how to get on the school internet, but dont worry! There are always patient helpful younger students who are eager to help. Most schools have a dedicated IT department, your tuition helps pay for people to help you- such a great concept!
· You can physically feel your brain stretching- HA! Not really, but there will be days that it all feels too hard, and besides, you are too old, and who really wants to be told what to do by a professor…blah blah blah. Do not believe that lie that it was a mistake to go back to school over the age of 50. It was not a mistake, you are a freakin genius! Settle down and allow the feelings of fear to dissipate. Every instructor I have had is more than willing to help their students succeed. You are a brilliant Unicorn, keep stretching that brain!
· It’s expensive to level up. I used to live in an environment focused on lack. Lack of resources, lack of money, projected shortages in retirement savings. I have had to choose my belief that investing in myself will pay off. Of course, you need to find the most cost-effective school, and figure out how to hustle to keep your tuition payments manageable, BUT- investing in yourself is never a bad idea.
· Let the process of grad school deeply change you- Deeply change me-What does that even mean? I am asking you to see yourself as a Warrior, one who does not give up, doesn’t stall and does not stop. Take the energy and mindset you will develop in grad school and apply it to the rest of your life.
If you can enroll in grad school over the age of 50, what else are you able to do? Think about your physical health- maybe you can start lifting weights and achieve that toned body you have wanted in midlife. How about finally learning to cook delicious and health focused meals? Start studying YouTube chefs and follow some health-based accounts on Instagram. You can decide to fuel your body and your brain to help support the rigors of grad school and beyond.
The principle here is- if you want something- go get it!
Remember, the brain will look for bias, our minds want to stay in the rut of what we know. Our brain will take the sum of previous experiences and it will tell us that enrolling in grad school over 50 is a dangerous choice. As humans, we search for evidence to support the story we know, and , that will keep us playing small and isolated from new ideas.
One of the most difficult things to do is to turn off the danger machine echoing in your mind and step into a new, foreign space to pursue self-growth. By the time we have arrived in midlife, we have emotional stories and mental structures that are built on past evidence of bad experiences.
You Owe Us
You owe to yourself to challenge the fears, and step into the unknown of self-growth.
You owe it to your children, the young adults who are watching you to see how to embrace challenges.
You owe it to us- the larger world- because if you are not showing up as your best self, then we are missing out on the unique YOU that we need in our world.
Go back to grad school after the age of 50. Or start with a undergrad program. You might need to begin with a community college, that is absolutely cool. The point is to start. And when you feel like you want to give up, keep going.
The time will pass anyway, why not spend it on self-improvement?
Be a Unicorn. Stretch your brain. Don’t quit.