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Reflection/Memoir: I Can Do It

Reflection/Memoir: I Can Do It

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Published by David Pendery
A brief personal reflection on the confidence one feels when returning to college at an older age. I wrote this many years ago, when I was returning to college when I was near 30. It was a very positive time for me.
A brief personal reflection on the confidence one feels when returning to college at an older age. I wrote this many years ago, when I was returning to college when I was near 30. It was a very positive time for me.

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Published by: David Pendery on Sep 29, 2009
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07/19/2010

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I Can Do It
By David Pendery
That returning to college after a hiatus of ten years of more can restore a person’syouth is no secret. My return to college, at 30, has renewed me this way. There issomething about studying past my bedtime, winnowing through college catalogs, makingcareer plans, or listening to a really good, inspiring instructor that has put a wildlyyouthful gleam in my eye. Yes, I even enjoy the youthful—perhaps simply childish— exhilaration of receiving a professor’s praise for an assignment well done. These aresome of the restorative rewards I have enjoyed by returning to school. But, these pleasures aside, a more intimate facet of my youth, once overlooked, now embraced byme, has been my dearest reward for giving myself this second start in college. I couldsum up this element of my youth in the phrase, “I can do it.”Does that sound glib? I do not mean it so.For this reward is not simply sweeping youthful enthusiasm (i.e. “I can doanything”), but the recognition and cultivation of a single, unrealized ability, a little plotof possibility that I had for too long allowed to lie fallow. This forsaken ability had beenso natural and reliable to me as a youth that, after high school, I found it confoundinglyeasy to let go. I realize that these are disquieting words—they are an admission of abandonment. But I am back now, honing my neglected tools anew. And I can do it. Not revealing my resurgent ability would be unwise of me. The ability is writing,and, fortunately, writing stuck by during my twenties, while I was pursuing other dreams.Even then my somnolent ability often roused, and I found myself speaking with friendsof the appeal of journalism and a college education in that craft, though I cagily qualifiedmy comments, and minimized my potential to achieve that goal. But such self-abridgment is behind me now. Perhaps I could have been a better journalist had I startedat eighteen, taking my carefully polished high school essays the next logical step and
© David Pendery 1

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