Looking across the chasm of
confusion to a new version
of my college memoir.
And she was worse than a newborn baby, draining my concentration so. Inferiority was in my face constantly. Every time my younger classmates, like experts, maneuvered around the websites or programs in the new technology during class, there she was, laughing at me as I tried to jot down notes and perform the steps necessary to complete the task, desperately trying to keep up with the class.
Inferiority would hide inside my book bag and sneer at me as I racked my brain trying to come up with some concrete connection to the literature text at hand, or find some philosophical theory that could explain the actions of historical public figures at the moment of crisis or even explain the historical context of a poem. Where did my younger counterparts come up with all these ideas? Why were they so much braver than I?
At home when I tried to write my critical papers, I had to shove Inferiority into a cupboard. You could hear her scratching at the door and rattling the doorknob. I’d post a note on the cupboard door: “Beware, Mom’s Inferiority is trapped inside!” I didn’t want the kids opening the door to find out what all the noise was and then have Inferiority escape only to fly to my fingers at the keyboard and keep me from writing.
No, I needed to get past this feeling of inferiority. I needed to learn to speak up for myself during class if I had a question, ask why something was wrong if I didn’t understand, and challenge a grade to see how to improve for the next time. This is something I had been teaching my children their whole lives. Now it was time I did the same.
Believe in myself. I needed to believe in myself. But that blasted inferiority. I felt that everyone knew much more than I, had read all the appropriate texts prior to enrolling in the class, or at least had the foundational courses necessary to excel in the present class. I was twice their age and never heard of half the technology used at college, never mind the pertinent movies or literature.
To gain that belief in myself, I needed a solid college foundation. But I wanted to attend college classes. Now. Playing catch-up becomes a reality. Everyone knows foundations take time. And time is another issue for the older student or parent attending college.
As I begin a new revision of my memoir, please pose any questions you may have about my college journey as a mother of five or share some insight from your college journey. It would be greatly appreciated.
44 thoughts on “Inferiority Comes to Live at My House”
Holy Wow! Great post!
Hi Victoria – looks like you've got things under control … we need to realise we can ask and ask without being made to look stupid – so just keep on clarifying … and then good luck – cheers Hilary
I think something you have going for you as an older college student is a work ethic and organizations skills that a mother learns. Your life experience will make up for the few steps you feel like you're behind in tech know-how. Go get 'em.
Hello Victoria. It's true that today's youth have technology on their side but you have life experience! Years and years of it cannot be ignored, that's for sure. And you have perseverance and determination—-a very potent combo. Shove that inferiority in the cupboard and lock the door. This is a new day, a new time and a new YOU! Silence the critics. YOU ROCK! Susan p.s. Thanks for your visit to my post! Loved that you stopped by. Susan
Great job, Victoria! You may not have the technology skills, but remember the life experience and other skills you have, which is what makes you such a better writer.
I can't believe you suffer inferiority. With five children I don't see how you have time to even type the word. Love reading that you're creating a memoir. That is such a great way to pass on family history.
You amaze me being a mom of five and going back to school. I only have one child and I can hardly find time to write when he's not in school!
Never be afraid to ask questions. Never be afraid to challenge a grade. Most students would stay silent or keep their low grade. It takes a lot of courage to stand up for yourself and seek more knowledge. Great post!
Yes, inferiority is something to be banished in a dark closet, especially when writing. It's an ongoing task, isn't it? Glad you are overcoming the challenges "she" presents. 🙂
Still fighting myself.
Inferiority visits most of us. A little of her keeps us humble, and after that she's useless dead weight; time for her to move on.
Thank you so much, Marie, for your kind words. They mean the world to me. Always a pleasure seeing you here at Adventures in Writing.
Thank you so much, Susan, for your kind words. I believe you are correct. Organizational skills are vital for any mother in college. And, yes, they helped me greatly to accomplish all the work related to a college degree. But the workload was truly difficult. Thanks so much for visiting Adventures in Writing and leaving a note. It's greatly appreciated.
And that is the key, Hilary. To continue to ask questions until you understand. I tell my children to do this every day. I drove my professors nuts with questions. Yet I struggled with the feeling of inadequacy. Thanks so much for visiting Adventures in Writing. It's truly appreciated.
Ohmygosh, Susan, do I need this vote of confidence. Thank you so much. Always a pleasure seeing you here at Adventures in Writing. I really needed this pep talk. Thanks again.
Hello and welcome to Adventures in Writing, Jessica! Thank you so much for these words of encouragement. I really, really appreciate them. Life experience colors all I do, and as with characters in fiction, I need to show that life experience and how it colors my college journey. Thank you for visiting Adventures in Writing. Please stop by again.
Isn't it, though? Ah, my children are my treasure in life. And with my college journey, they've helped me almost as much as I've helped them on their educational journey. Thanks so much, Lee, for visiting Adventures in Writing and leaving a note. Please stop by again!
Now this is very true, Christine. It's almost impossible with young children to accomplish much of anything, let alone attend college and complete homework and projects with kids around. My first version of this college journey shows that extensively. At this point, I'm not sure how much of that will transfer over to the new version. Thanks so much for visiting my Adventures in Writing blog and leaving a note. It's greatly appreciated. Stop by again!
Thank you so much for these words of encouragement, Michelle. Of course, you are 100% correct. I've been telling my children this for years now. But I never realized how difficult it is to do. Always a pleasure seeing you here at Adventures in Writing, Michelle. Please stop by again!
Thanks, Karen. Unfortunately, she can still torment me with the writing of this memoir, but I've got the key. Sometimes, I need to trick her and stuff her in that dark closet. Always a pleasure seeing you here at Adventures in Writing. Please stop by again!
You know, sometimes it never ends. Thanks so much for stopping by Adventures in Writing, Dawn. Please do so again.
Really. I agree that we all need a bit of inferiority to keep us humble, though. But during my college years especially, Inferiority was trying to set up house. Thanks so much for visiting Adventures in Writing, Jennifer. Always a pleasure seeing you here. Please stop by again.
I feel you on the technology thing. My daughters just flash their hands over their iPads and miraculous things happen without effort. My older one is making me a book trailer. I feel a little queasy about starting new things like Twitter while they rack up followers on Instagram hand over fist.
You are far from inferior Victoria. So much wisdom to share with the world. Just think what would happen if technology suddenly all fried at once. We'd be okay, wouldn't we? Except I'd miss the blogging – but then we'd have to write with pen and paper and that's no hardship to us, is it? I do think that the younger generation depends too much on technology. Schools these days don't seem to teach the basics anymore – such a shame. A super post. Thank you for sharing.
I went back to school when my youngest was in grade school. I understand that inferiority! It took awhile before I felt comfortable and even then I was going to a satellite campus rather than the big one filled with 18 and 19 year olds.
You understand! Thank you, Karen. I was more intimidated by the young people's preparedness for college than merely their age. I, too, started college when my youngest, twins, were in second grade. Always a pleasure seeing you here at Adventures in Writing, Karen.
I am definitely with you here, Tamara. The young people make magic happen on those things; whereas I try to go through any procedure and end up with the screen flashing "fatal error." Lucky you to have such a talented daughter who can create the book trailer for you. I'm anxious to see it. And yes, I feel "queasy" about building my social media sources, too. Thank you so much for visiting my Adventures in Writing blog and leaving a note. It's greatly appreciated.
Thank you so much, Nicola, for your kind words. I agree with you. It is vital to teach our children "the basics." They need to know how to write down their ideas, form complete sentences, make a point with concrete vocabulary and grammar. They need to know how to use pen and paper, so that if the power goes down, they will be able to survive. Thanks for visiting Adventures in Writing, Nicola. Please stop by again.
I remember my mind going completely blank during exams. Yet in my teens I would write answers straight away. Going back to college is an experience I share with you!
Ohmygosh, Nas, that would happen to me too sometimes. Especially in French class. In high school, I could remember everything. I worried that my mind would still work after having 5 children when I started college when my youngest, the twins, started second grade. As I calmed a bit, I began to find ways to remember material. Thanks so much, Nas, for visiting Adventures in Writing. Always a pleasure seeing you here.
Sometimes we forget about what we are bringing to the table (life experience) and focus on what we are lacking which is too bad because we beat ourselves up when we could be celebrating what we know too. One of my good friends recently went back to school and technology was hard for him because he didn't really use computers in his day job. Finding time to get the homework done was also hard because he works full time. But probably the biggest challenge was doing the work for classes that he knew he never used since high school and wouldn't need in his new career (algebra and math classes were his frustration). Hearing what he has gone through made me think a lot about college requirements and why certain courses are "musts". 🙂
Thanks for sharing!
For me, going back to school ten years after I left was both a thousand times easier and a thousand times scarier than the first time I went to school. Easier because I wanted to be there for the first time ever. Scarier because I was so much older than everyone else. It was so worth it, though.
Thank you so much for this insight, Jess. You are right. Sometimes I focused on what I was missing, in this case a college foundation, math, technology knowledge. I needed to remember how my life experiences could help me in college. It took a while–quite a while–for me to believe in myself enough to succeed in college.
I believe that colleges still hold fast to the idea that they produce well-rounded graduates with a basic foundation in almost all subjects. I know that the University of Pennsylvania prided itself in turning out students who were proficient in a foreign language. I had much trouble with this requirement. Thank you so much for visiting my Adventures in Writing blog and leaving a note. It is greatly appreciated. Please stop by again.
Now this is true, Lynda. Non-traditional students, those older than right out of high school, come to college with a maturity that helps them survive in a sea of academia and younger people. But gosh, is it scary. And yes, it is so worth it. Always a pleasure seeing you here at Adventures in Writing. Thank you.
You are a true inspiration!
Terrifying, for sure. Give me another ten years and I know I'll be totally out of the loop. Thankfully my kids keep me in it. I also think that many kids just don't ask questions. When I took online classes but attended an actual review class on campus, I was astonished to find out I knew SO MUCH MORE than the campus students. They had the professor at their beck and call the whole time. I did not. You were likely doing much better than you thought.
Hello and welcome to Adventures in Writing! Thanks so much for your kind words and vote of confidence. I certainly need it, and it's greatly appreciated.
Yes it was. It's tough being a non-traditional, older college student. You are right. In my classes, the younger college students didn't like to ask questions. In math class, sometimes my younger counterparts asked me to ask their questions. It benefited everyone, so why not. In hindsight, I had maturity, yes. At the University of Pennsylvania especially, the typical college student there had much of the foundational college preparatory courses that I lacked. I held my own, but was extremely nervous about it. Thanks so much, Crystal, for visiting my Adventures in Writing blog. Please stop by again!
And it's a pleasure reading your posts 🙂
Thank you so much for your kind words, Nas. They mean the world to me. All the best, my dear!
I love it: Every story begins with a first word! This was a great post, VM! I can so relate on many levels ~ especially trying to keep up with following the technology in class! I haven't taken a university course in a while, but I kept throwing myself at technology classes through my school district, even though I felt like a hopeless idiot most of the time; I wasn't even capable of hiding my inferiority! I just doggedly kept going back for more punishment until I was able to do most of what I needed to. I wasn't too proud to ask my third grade students for help. They loved helping me untangle the technology messes I made! So hang in there and don't give up! Never in a million years could I have imagined having a blog in retirement!
I'm anxiously awaiting what the genre will be for this year"s IWSG Anthology contest. I'm trying to convince myself to stuff my inferiority in a lock box and enter the contest whatever the genre. I so get battling inferiority!
Thanks for all the encouragement that you give me on my northern blog posts as I try to figure out how to write a memoir!
Enjoy the rest of your 4th weekend! Five kids ~ OMG! If you can do that, you can do anything!
Thank you so much for your kind words. They mean the world to me. Yes, I slogged through college technology, asking relentless questions to both my fellow [younger] students as well as my professors. Drove everybody crazy–including my family. I don't hide my inferiority well, either. I also "doggedly" kept going back for more humiliation in college with the younger set.
I had a wonderful 4th of July and hope you did as well. Thank you so much for visiting my Adventures in Writing blog. Please stop by again. All the best!
If not for insecurities and feeling inferior what mountains we could climb. Great post.
Hello and welcome to Adventures in Writing! Thank you so much for stopping by. There was never a truer statement said. You found the key to keep going. Put things in perspective. Thank you for your kind words. They mean the world to me.