It is said that you will find time for the things you really want to do, but it is clear that those who agree on this are not working eight hours a day while studying a Law degree.
As an adult, studying is a sacrifice. It is no longer what you are supposed to be doing, and by spending the time and effort it requires you are subtracting quality time from the off-hours you would dedicate to your friends, family and hobbies otherwise. It is also unbelievably satisfying: the thrill of the new books at the beginning of the course; the mastery of your organizational skills (especially if you are enrolled in online courses),;the grades at the end of the semester that mean you are still capable of understanding and retaining new knowledge. And the process of learning itself is its own reward when the motivation comes from within.
When I started studying Law after my veterinary degree, people used to ask me if I liked it. I just couldn’t understand the question, first because one cannot like or dislike things that they don’t know yet and, second, because as a result of deepening your knowledge about a subject you deepen your interest in it. They also proclaim that, ‘I couldn’t study again at my age,’ which happens to be my age as well. And, you know, when I visit the study room at my university I always find students beyond retirement age engrossed in their books, not to mention some cases among my Law classmates of people who couldn’t afford to study when they were young and enrolled in their first degree at the age of 50. These people are my role models.
After finishing the degree, the masters’ degree, and the Examination for Access to the Legal Profession, I decided to continue studying another degree, a degree in Legal Sciences of the Public Administration, which all Law students seemed to be doing as being complementary to the Law studies, so it felt kind of mandatory.
And now, with the Public Administration degree almost finished – I have only four subjects left – I have decided to finally indulge myself with something I was looking forward to studying: English Philology.
In my university the degree is called English Studies, and includes culture of the English-speaking countries, English grammar per se, translation, communication in Spanish… But the subjects I am more excited about are the ones about Literature. This semester in particular I am studying Medieval literature, submerged in ancient epic poems I had never heard of.
It is still a surprise how much I am enjoying reading about these texts: the historical context, the topics, the structure of the poems… Learning has become a source of pure pleasure again, and I am wondering if I shouldn’t have started the degree in Spanish language and literature first; I feel that I would get much more out from the classic texts now than I did in school, when you only focused on memorizing authors, dates and titles of literary work.
As a result of my new endeavor, these days you can find me walking around the room reading poems out loud so I can appreciate the alliterations on the verses, or inventing kennings following Beowulf’s example. Besides, my partner is incredibly encouraging, so much so that he looks for further readings and radio programs about the poems I have to read, and sometimes I have to catch up with him regarding the texts that he has just acquired all the knowledge about, which makes me laugh because it is supposed to be me who is studying literature!
So, if you are also too old to study, I am pleased to make your acquaintance. We will take advantage of the quietness of the hours before sunrise, or maybe we will be the last in the house to go to bed. We will turn in assignments on time while complaining there is an echo coming back from the fridge. Every single day we will wonder why the hell we are torturing ourselves like this, but no expense will be spared at the exam results’ celebrations. And we will learn. Medieval literature, Microbiology, Criminal Law, Macroeconomics. We will learn.