Why Going Back to School in Your Late Twenties is So Much Better

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Because honestly is the best policy, I'll admit I wrote this post a few months back. And just found it now during my monthly technology sweep (aka- the last Sunday of every month I like to go through all my devices and organize all my folders. This way documents are easier to find or delete things that are no longer relevant). However, I still think the message is pertinent to my current lifestyle (also, I believe it's very freaking true).


Here it goes.


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Insomnia, hello there my old friend. I guess, thanks for the visit. I probably wouldn't mind all the free time if I could turn it into something productive. But that usually leads to blog posts making no sense, or photographs that become overly edited. Basically, nothing makes sense. Taking up more time to clean up the mess than it would have if I started from a rested state. Usually, I sleep like a baby. Though these past few nights have been testing my patience and youth (lol). I genuinely have no idea how I am functioning on an accumulative of 10 hours over the past three days. Tonight is the night I hope things will go back to normal. But then again, it’s also the last two weeks before the holiday break. So I guess that’s just wishful thinking.

Even after two cups of coffee, it's taking everything in me to not pass out on this commute to school. I keep reminding myself it would turn into an ugly sleep. Like, the mouth wide open drool kind that could possibly turn into a meme (crazy, how this is what we have to worry about these days). So, to move my thoughts from a state of "can, I just go the fuck to sleep?" to a place of gratitude. I figured that I'll share exactly why I believe going back to school in your late twenties is abso-fucking-lutely worth the plunge.

Let me just give you a little background of my academic career.

Since middle school, I wanted to be a music therapist. I played in the school band. Practiced my way up to first chair clarinet (which was like three hours a day). Somehow, I was able to convince my cousins who quit the school band to give me their instruments so I could learn them. I went to teach myself how to play the flute and saxophone by the 10th grade. At that time, my music teacher recommended that I switch my main instrument to the oboe to increase my chances of getting into music school. Now, the oboe isn't the easiest of instruments to learn. So, I took the advice on hiring a private tutor. Guys, I wanted this MORE THAN ANYTHING. Lessons were going, but because it wasn't effortless, I had a hard time learning to love the oboe. I took the oboe with me to France, but not having that year to practice REALLY hurt my chances of getting into music school. The plan then became to go to our local community school to continue with lessons and transfer out a year later. Everything seemed like it was back on track even with the minor detour. But an incident happened in school, sort of comical writing it out now. However, at the time it was devastating. My teacher took away my solo in front of the entire band. Both humiliating and heart-wrenching at the same time.


So, I did what any rational person would do (insert sarcasm voice). Left band practice. Headed straight to the principal's office, no meeting, and argued why I shouldn't have to participate in band functions any longer.


Yes, I let one fool of a human being dictate something that I genuinely loved so much. I saw all of those lessons, hours of practice, everything I had worked for go to waste. Just because ONE person told me no. The saddest part, I stopped playing entirely. But that's really a story for another time.


But, giving up music meant I was officially lost of my 'life purpose.' I say that lightly, because who really knows what their purpose is at 18?


On the bright side, I was able to graduate school in three years by doubling up my senior year. This way my year abroad didn't hold me back. After graduation, I had a strong sense of wanderlust and no interest in going off to college. But, I REALLY wanted to play volleyball. So, I spent my first year and a half at a local community school, purely going to class for the credits of eligibility. Taking any class and every class trying to find something that would spark something in me.


But let me tell you, I HATED SCHOOL. It really didn't feel like the best fit for me. I stopped going, worked odd jobs, and become overwhelmed with the sense of wanderlust. Just like that my attendance dwindled away to practically nothing.


Then I watched the VS Fashion Show, and something inside me sparked like a firework.


Found a way to FIT, studied there for another year and a half. Then transferred over to the University of Memphis where I FINALLY completed my degree.


Three schools.

Two moves.

One degree.

Even after finding what I wanted to do, it wasn't always rainbows and butterflies. There were a few semesters off. Hundreds of meltdowns. A few drunken nights. Mostly a heavy feeling like that I did not have it in me cross that finish line. I swore after graduating UofM, that was it for me. No more school. Never again, I was a free agent to chase my dreams. Little did I know pursuing my dreams would lead me right back into University.

I’ve got to say, this is what I always imagined fashion school to be. No basic education classes like math, science, and history. Our primary focus I literally lingerie. Which is probably why I decided to spark up the courage to go back. It’s been a weird transition. Part of me feels extremely lucky to have this opportunity. The other part of me wishes I had settled down in a career with a 401k and health insurance. With the possibility of house shopping rather than doing homework. But so far, this whole process has been well worth the sacrifice.

Going back to school in your late twenties is SO MUCH different. And if I dare say, so much better. When I was in my young twenties craving to let loose and be that party girl. I had no focus, no passion, no dream other than what warehouse was I going to that weekend. Let's not forget, continually being on the hunt for which bar makes the best margaritas (though I'm probably still on that journey tbh). But this time around, I am much more focused. I know exactly what I want from my education and have the boundaries set to achieve it all.

Okay, but really. Why does going back later make it so much better?


Passion: I think at 18, 19, 20 (unless you’re apart of the rare breed that has it already figured out), it is daunting trying to figure out what the fuck you want to do for the rest of your life. But if you're deciding to go back to school later, you know EXACTLY what the fuck you want. And you're going to do whatever it takes to get there.

Life Experience: Coming straight out of high school, you have no clue what journey Uni will take you on. Especially, if you move to a brand new city or country. Life experience will help you handle the stressful situations accordingly. Like, if you're in a group project partnered with Susie the know it all, who reminds you of your old worker Bonnie. You'll be able to help control the situation.

Self-sufficient: You'll be the student who doesn't just look to the week ahead, but the semester as a whole. You'll figure out when you can go to the library and what report is due when. Date nights will be explicitly planned around those critical dates. You just do whatever it takes to make it work.


Appreciation: You'll acquire a whole new appreciation for education if you go back in your later years. Or even if you're going for the very first time. Because it takes a lot of courage, planning, and lifestyle changes to go after your educational goals.

It doesn't matter if you're going back again or going for the first time. What matters is you've made the decision to pursue an education. If you were anything like me in my early twenties, going back now is the best choice you can make. Sure, sometimes I wish I could have done it right the first time. But I wouldn't be where I am today if I had.

Girl TalkMelissa Cherniss