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Illustration for article titled Melancholy urges

This past weekend, I was teaching on a college campus. It was fairly quiet, since it was still a few weeks before school started, but you could tell they were prepping. The bookstore was overflowing with supplies. There were fliers about classes and groups. Everything was shiny and bright and orderly and full of promise.

I loved college, and this was my favorite time of the school year. I loved the potential of the semester. I loved skimming through my textbooks and filling out my planner and buying a new set of pens and some really nice notebooks.


I never finished school. I had a traumatic hand injury that required a year of recovery. Once I was better, I found myself pregnant and freaking out. Things stabilized, so I went back in fits and starts, but never had the money to attend full-time again. When they redid the requirements for my degree just as I became a senior, I walked away. They added two YEARS to my plan, and fuck it, I already had a well-paying career. I like to joke that I have 95% of a college degree.

It never really bugged me... until now. It all came flooding back. I felt the desire to learn something, and not from a book, not from a video, but from a person. I wanted to make connections, not just pile more information in my head. I wanted a new trade. I don’t plan on leaving what I do, but damn, wouldn’t it be nice to add to it?

I came home and hesitantly proposed this to my husband. He was not into it. He knows how I get when I’m stressed. He knows I tend to overload myself. He knows my job takes a lot out of me. “You teach yourself stuff all the time. Just go do that.”

But this urge is different, and I’m having trouble explaining that. I know others have gone back to school later in life. What are your thoughts?

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