I think there are often expectations, landmarks we are supposed to hit by certain ages. We should graduate high school by 18, university by 22, then marriage, and kids before 30. While this is rarely the case anymore, it can still be difficult not to measure your accomplishments by this perceived scale of success. As most students at Athabasca University know, completing an undergrad degree is a worthy endeavour, yet it is not always possible to do it in the order that the scale suggests. Most students at AU are mature students.
I think we always have this belief that by the time we turn 30 we are going to have it all figured out. We will be secure in our careers, happy with where we are, and creating a life for ourselves that somewhat fits into those expectations. Attending AU showed me how bizarre that scale of thought is. It is a wonderful gradient for those who follow it, but it is certainly not the standard?nor should it be. The students I met (both virtually and in person) showed me how amazing it is to have a passion for something and to follow it regardless of what anyone else might think?regardless of how out of sequence it may be.
I never would have imagined that I would be starting an Internship at 30, that I would still be finding my way and working toward something. But, I have found my passion, and I have found something that I don’t mind working until midnight on. I learned through AU that you need to be open to new ideas, to opportunities that you maybe never expected, or never knew would exist. I learned to take pleasure in what I was learning at the moment and not to get too far ahead of myself. Looking at the final 400 level courses, when I was taking my first one, they seemed daunting. Looking at the final essay question when I first started a course, it seemed impossible. But when I got there, I continued through it. They all came with their challenges but by the time I got there I had the tools I needed to succeed.
So, what will come of this Internship that I am starting by all accounts much later than “normal”? I can’t say, but I will do what AU taught me to do: I will focus on what I am being taught, I will absorb as much as I can, and I will be open to new opportunities.
I was always given the impression that turning 30 would be a “big deal” that it would be a hard birthday. But for me, it is a new beginning. I am on a road I am extremely happy to be on. I am finding my own way and slashing a trail through the woods creating my own timeline, scale. I have a wonderful support system to cheer me on when I get tired, or sharpen the blade when it dulls.
Deanna Roney is an AU student who loves adventure in life and literature. Follow her path on the writing journey at https://deannaroney.wordpress.com/