As I’ve written, I’m currently taking two college courses: Basic Statistics and Experimental Psychology. I’m thoroughly enjoying both, but here are a couple things that have caught me by surprise.

First, I’d forgotten how much work is required to truly succeed in a college class. Skating by with a passing grade is one thing, but developing a strong grasp of nearly every concept—really learning the material—is hard mental work! Sorry if that’s obvious—I had honestly forgotten. I’m becoming more empathetic toward my own advisees as a result.

And second, being 10-15 years older than every other student in the room affords me a unique perspective. When I look at my classmates, I see a lot of variance in their individual levels of commitment. Many are serious students playing for keeps, and some are not—like the student sitting next to me today who spent all but ten minutes of class scrolling through Facebook, to my growing amazement. I’m here to work—I’m 32, for goodness’ sake—but I’m not sure I wouldn’t have been watching cat videos myself if I were still 18.

Serious, fast-paced learning is something I’d been missing, and I’m glad I’m back in the game. It’s gratifying to go to bed smarter than you woke up.

My friend Jason Shaw recently wrote a similar post about taking a class with his students. It’s a quick and rewarding read!