9 weeks. Just over 2 months.

That’s how long I have been in college again full-time as an adult.

I graduated with my Associate degree over 7 years ago, transferred the degree to a university (University of Texas) in a city I’d never been to (Austin), moved to that city before I even knew if I got accepted to the university (thankfully, I did), and now I’m on my first Spring Break as I write this.

All in all, it was one of my crazier ideas, especially since I’m majoring in a subject that I barely knew anything about before I started classes (Japanese language).

I’ve written a few articles about my mindset as I prepared to go back to college (Failure vs Regret; Improving by Not Being Yourself; + Ignore Your Fear + Passion), but now that I’ve gotten in the thick of it, there’s so much more to share that could help you.

I’ve created this new series of posts to compile the raw lessons that I learn while pursuing a 4-year degree as an adult + business owner.

Insight / Lesson #1: Everything is an Excuse

With a nearly endless list of insights I could share, I found it hard to pick just one. I reached out to my favorite Facebook groups + my Instagram followers to ask them what they wanted to know about going to college or making a big change as an adult.

I was incredibly surprised to find out that so many of you are interested in higher education, and many of you have the same key barrier as most of us adults: time.

Whether you have a college degree already or not, it takes time – time to go to class, time to study, time to practice.

You also need time to work/make money, clean, eat, take care of your relationships (kids, partner, friends), exercise, enjoy your hobbies, + sleep (yes, college students need sleep!!).

If you choose not to pursue higher education because of time, that’s completely understandable – but it’s also an excuse. Your family, your partner, your hobbies – they’re all excuses.

I didn’t know if I would be able to run my business, go to college, + stay sane. Sometimes, it hasn’t gone so well, but sometimes I’ve been rockin’ the balance like Beyonce. The key is that I would never know if it would or wouldn’t work if I didn’t TRY.

Sound judgemental? Here are some excuses I’ve used over the past 9 weeks:

  • I didn’t have time to keep working out 3-4 days a week because I had to spend time studying. (Truth: I spent 2+ hours a night sitting on the couch looking at my phone.)
  • I didn’t have time to practice speaking Japanese with other students after class because I had to get home to work on client projects. (Truth: I did have client projects, but they could wait for an extra hour – I was actually afraid of screwing up in front of other people who knew more Japanese than I do.)
  • I didn’t have time to go to join a club + go to events because my schedule was so full. (Truth: I was worried about meeting other people, not having anything in common to talk about, + feeling like an outsider once again.)

If you prefer the schedule (or relationships or job) you have more than you want to learn something new + pursue a new direction in your life, that’s a choice + everything else is an excuse.

Maybe now it’s the right time for you to go back to college or to make a big change, personally or professionally. Or maybe it’s exactly what you need, but fear holds you back as you use time (and everything else in your life) as your excuse.

I know I sure have, and I’ll probably do it again – it’s a natural reaction.

Be honest with yourself about what you’re afraid of: failing a class? Wasting your time on a degree that may not get you a better job? Being too exhausted from trying to cram classes + studying into your current schedule?

I’m afraid of all 3 of those things.

Sacrifices are required to get what you want.

For me, I chose to get a 4-year degree in Japanese in the hopes of moving to Japan and working as a translator. Because of that goal, I am traveling less, cooking more at home, going to less small business networking events, + consuming more Japanese content than English content (not just anime!).

I don’t have as much time to workout, so my workouts have gotten shorter + more powerful.

I don’t have as much time to watch TV or movies, so I’m able to enjoy it more when I do have time.

I don’t have as much time to cook, so I plan meals in advance + do extra prep on the weekends to save time during the week.

You don’t HAVE to go to college full-time in order to make progress + learn new things.

You don’t HAVE to spend 2 hours at the gym 4-5 days a week to get results.

You don’t HAVE to give up sleeping to pursue a degree + run a business at the same time.

It’s trite to say, but if you want something enough, you’ll find a way to make it happen – one hour, one class, one choice at a time.

Everything else is an excuse.

Photo by Mikito Tateisi on Unsplash

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