Many nontraditional students operate from a base of fear.
They may say to themselves:
I'm not smart enough.
It's been way too long since I've been in school.
I may as well not even try.
They also say:
I will never fit in, or
I will be a failure.
Tough questions come up, too, like:
What if this doesn't work out?
What if I fail a course? and
What if I find out what I take isn't for me?
Some nontrads just give up before even trying. But they don't have to.
Sometimes just taking one class to get "your feet wet" can help. You can also talk to other nontraditional student who have "been there, done that." Fail a class or get a grade you don't like? You can always take it over, or take another class later. You can even take a subject, complete it, and then take another one. The learning itself - learning something new - is worth your effort, whether it starts in a school, in a book or online.
Doing something new might not be as hard as you think. Sometimes it just takes courage to get out of the rut you are in and try new things. Try telling yourself positive things, like I CAN do difficult things, and I know I am a smart person. Make that appointment with the college Financial Aid office. Who knows? There may be a grant for you that you don't even know exists. You can't find out if you never try.
Just telling yourself positive things about yourself and your abilities can improve your self-esteem. Don't listen to people who bring you down and are not positive. If you want to take a course, improve yourself, or go back to school, be brave and try it. You might find you like it! And then you can say, I did it!
Here are some websites I like that look helpful to improve self-esteem and courage:
Having Faith in Yourself
The essentials of Self-esteem (how to tell where you stand…)
Take a self-esteem questionnaire
25 ways to develop better self-esteem
Tips for personal growth and developing healthy self-esteem
The Steve Pavlina Audio Archives
(podcasts – these cover many personal development subjects)
Buddhist Ch’an Practice newsletter
A helpful group online for Nontrads:
The Nontraditional Student Yahoo Group