Three Month Checkup


Three months ago last week I packed up my car, said goodbye to friends and family, and drove 300 miles west to start a new life chapter. As much as I knew I was doing the right thing, I was still scared out of my mind. Completely leaving my comfort zone isn't exactly my forte and I had so many fears about all the unknowns I was about to encounter.

How am I doing 3 months later? Let's see what I was so worried about:


My biggest, #1 fear is that I will feel like (and/or be) an outcast in my classes, with no friends or people to study with or talk to. 

I'm happy to report that I'm not an outcast, but I don't exactly fit in either. Unlike the school I went to last year, there really aren't any other non-traditional students. I knew that would probably be the case, which is why I was so afraid I'd stick out like a sore thumb. I look young enough that my classmates don't usually know I'm older until I tell them, but I still feel a little out of place. With that said, I kind of don't care. I don't have a school BFF to study with anymore, but I have found a few people to talk to. I try to get involved with clubs even though I am positive everyone there is wondering why, at 27 years old, I have nothing better to do than hang out with people 5-8 years my junior. But I don't care. I spent way too much time my first go around in college worrying about what other people thought. The plus side of being 27 and in college is that now I'm too old for that shit. 

I'm scared of living in Blacksburg again. 

From my first week back, I've loved living here way more than I ever expected to. No one is more surprised than I am, and it kind of doesn't even make sense, but I'm going with it. I find myself in awe of the countryside and the mountain vistas on a daily basis. It's like I just never took the time to look around before. I'm still a city girl at heart and dream daily of my big city move, but in the meantime I'm enjoying this change of pace. 



I'm scared I won't keep up with running and tri training.

In a way, this has been the best and worst part of living here. I was so afraid that the hills would completely kill my run times, but I was shocked to discover that, if anything, they've helped. I've set several new PRs in the last few months and I feel stronger as a result of being unable to run anywhere without encountering at least a hill or two. 



On the other hand, training here is hard.  I haven't run or cycled on flat land in over 3 months. Some days I think I'll scream if I have to run up another hill. Not only that, but my school schedule is crazy and my courses are demanding and all of those things put together have undeniably led to some suffering when it comes to training. That's why I recently made a big decision halfway through training for my 3rd marathon to forego the full and instead opt for the half. It's been an adjustment to accept that where I am right now is a lot different than where I was when I trained for a marathon last year, and that means readjusting my goals and expectations for now. 

I'm scared of being away from Ben. 
This is another part that hasn't been as bad as I expected. So far, both weeks he was gone I was so busy that I barely noticed. That's better than the alternative, I think. The hardest part is taking care of myself, our house, and our menagerie all on my own, but I think I'm getting better.  We've made it a point to really utilize both our time together and our time in our temporary new home, and I think that's made all the difference.



Engineering school is kind of like running a marathon: it frustrates me, it makes me angry, it makes me want to cry, it makes me question my sanity. The only difference is that engineering school is way harder. It's the hardest thing I've ever done. Not only are the courses hard, but going through it via a non-traditional route is hard. It's hard when I'm the only person over the age of 21 at a club meeting. When I have to explain the wedding rings on my finger. When it's been 6 years since I graduated from college, yet I can't be introduced as "a doctor" or "a lawyer" or "a ______" (fill in the blank with any other professional title and/or one that doesn't include the word student). I used to be "a teacher" but I never felt like that really defined or accurately represented me. Honestly, I'm tired of explaining the fact that I already have two degrees, that they are in no way relevant to my current career path, and how I got from there to here. It's exhausting for me and it rarely makes sense to anyone else anyway. 

But I'm reminded of a lyric that Jenny Lewis sings in a Rilo Kiley song and says, "All the immediate unknowns are better than knowing this tired and lonely fate" and you know what? 

She's right.

14 comments :

  1. So glad to hear that things are going mostly better than you had expected! I was nervous moving back to our college town, too that it would feel lonely since we don't know anyone here anymore... but just like you, I'm pretty surprised that I've never felt like that and am really enjoying it! Hang in there with school, it'll all be worth it in the end of course :)

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  2. So glad to know you're doing well! This kind of change can be scary, but you are taking it all in stride.

    Side note: What type of engineering are you studying? Undergrad or Grad school? My husband is getting his doctorate in electrical engineering right now. :)

    Also.... kudos to you for training with all of the hills. O.o I don't know if I could do it, but I'd try!

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  3. My husband feels the same way about going to school right now. He's a little older than the rest of the students and the only married one haha. But he deals with it fairly well, even though it's hard for him to relate to the students a lot of the time.

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  4. I'm glad things are going much better than expected!! I'm still jealous you're killing it on those hills :) You make me want to come back and visit ASAP! I love that place.

    I also think you shouldn't care what they think. There were a few people in my business classes that were older. One guy I was in a group project with and we had to find a company to work with. We were able to work with the one he was at and it made it easier and he already knew so much! They should know there are perks to working with you since you already have real world experience :) A few of my friends were in engineering and what you all do seems SO hard. I have one friend that is doing his PhD in something engineering related but I could not tell you what even his title meant...So basically I think you're super smart and I know you will get an awesome job out of this!!

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  5. I went to grad school at a university where the bulk of students were undergrad. I had to take one undergrad prereq to compete my Master's. I know what it feels like to be the old one in the room, and to look around and simply think, "Ohhhhhh man. I am just TOO OLD for this shit!"

    I too run faster with hills! Especially uphill, as I try to power up it. Go figure, right? I think I just get on a lazy "cruise control" mode when I run on a flat route. Either way, yay for PR's!

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    1. I think that's what I do too. The faster I run up the hill, the sooner I get to go downhill! :) I was all excited because I'm running a flat course in a couple weeks, for the first time in months, but I just read that going from hills to flat doesn't necessarily help, because your body adapts to whatever terrain you've been running.

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  6. I would maybe be scared if you DID fit in perfectly with college kids based on where you are in life! Sticking out a little is A-ok there!

    Overall I'm glad most of your fears have been quelled.

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  7. This makes me so happy to read! You are so right about being too old to worry about what other people think- I have a feeling I'd be the same way going back to college, but it sounds like it has been the perfect balance for you so far :)

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  8. So darn proud of you girlfriend -- you're seriously an inspiration. I'm glad you are saying SCREW IT to all those who question why you're going back at 27, its never too late to go back. I'm 23 and don't even have my degree yet...not one, and it makes me feel a little silly sometimes, but you know what? Everyone's stories are different. Go you! :)

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  9. I love that song lyric, so bloody true. aint nothing wrong with the way you're doing things, and i think i'd feel the exact same.. but making this choice and following this path is so much better than meandering along with what you were doing, unhappy and unfulfilled.

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  10. I went to VT.... Go Hokies :) I admire you for going to engineering school! That is some tough stuff right there.

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    1. Yay Go Hokies! I watched my husband go through engineering school when we went here the first time...you'd think I would have learned!

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  11. Kudos to you for realizing that your career path wasn't what you wanted. I've known plenty of people who are stuck in jobs they hate because the thought of taking the steps to change was too great. You did it and that's fantastic!

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  12. What a great journey! I admire what you are doing and think it is so cool. I always secretly wanted to go back to law school. I'm looking forward to more of your updates.

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