Going back to school or starting your college studies as an adult learner can be a challenge.
Most adult learners have been away from the formal learning process for a while and getting back into the swing of writing expectations, study habits, and submitting work by the due dates can be stressful when first starting.
This is normal and everyone who has taken the journey to earning a degree has questioned their own ability to be successful. Your confidence will build with each class.
Being a mature scholar means that you are open to new ideas and willing to accept feedback to make improvements.
This also means getting out of your own way and stop fighting the learning process.
Set your ego aside and be humble enough to realize you can grow as a person if you embrace the learning and seek your own answers within the scholarly literature and class discussions.
Everyone has opinions, they are formed from our own unique life experiences and knowledge. What you need to embrace and understand is that within academia the scholarly evidence produced from scientific research is what matters. The finding from these studies should guide your analysis and not your personal opinions and assumptions. Learning to embrace the academic literature to frame and guide your academic writing will enhance your success and build your confidence during the first few college classes you take.
Criminal Justice Scholars: The Importance of Information Literacy
Many adult learners place an artificial graduation date and pressure themselves into talking too many classes at one time. This will certainly cause problems and adult learners who cannot find the balance between job obligation, family responsibility, and study time will burnout and fade away.
The college degree path was not designed to be a sprint to the finish line. The college degree path was designed to take classes in a certain order to build a foundation for success. Taking too many classes at one time is a sure path to becoming a surface learner.
Criminal Justice Surface Learner vs. Authentic Deep Learner
Invest in your Future
Deciding to go back to college or starting your college journey is an investment in your future goals.
New adult learners who start their studies at a realistic pace and do not overextend themselves with a heavy course load have expressed that they enjoy their studies and have a rich meaningful learning experience. This type of adult learner sets realistic expectations knowing that they will take away what they put into their studies.
Learning is not a one-way street, the transfer of new knowledge and learning how to apply these new lessons to help solve problems takes a mature learner and the development of critical thinking skills.
Getting out of your own way, putting away personal ego, and embracing the learning journey will allow the adult learner a positive start to their studies.
Find what works for you and approach your studies with an open mind and willingness to find your own answers.
Good luck with your studies.
About the Author
Mark Bond has worked in law enforcement and has been a firearms instructor for more than 33 years. His law enforcement experience includes the military, local, state and federal levels as a police officer and criminal investigator. Mark obtained a BS and MS in criminal justice, and M.Ed in educational leadership with Summa Cum Laude honors. As a lifelong learner, he is currently pursuing a doctoral degree in education (EdD) with a concentration in college teaching and learning. Mark is currently an assistant professor of criminal justice at a university and adjunct professor of administration of justice studies at a community college.