If a 64-Year-Old Woman Can Swim from Cuba to Florida...Why Can’t You Go Back to College?

Barry Lenson

Diana Nyad 64 year old swimmerA week ago Saturday Diana Nyad got into the ocean in Cuba and started swimming. About 53 hours later, she arrived in Florida after completing a 110-mile ocean swim.

According to NBC News, Nyad first tried to complete the same swim back in 1978, when she was 28. She didn’t make it on that try. She tried the swim several times since then, always unsuccessfully. But this week, at age 64, she covered the distance for the first time. According to the NBC story, “. . . her success came down to one essential part of her body – her mind.”

What Is Stopping You from Reaching Your Educational Goals?

If Diana Nyad can swim 100 miles across open ocean at age 64, what’s keeping you from going back to college to complete your degree? When I was researching my book Good Stress, Bad Stress, I discovered some roadblocks that people often place between themselves and their most important dreams. Are similar obstacles standing in your way?

  • You could be hung up on numbers. If you’re hesitating about going back to college, for example, you might be thinking about how many years you’ll have to spend in college or how many credits you’ll need to earn. Instead of thinking that way, take just one small step – like enrolling in one class. That can break up the mental logjam and get you moving forward.
  • You could be worried about discomfort. You might be worried that you’ll feel embarrassed to be back in a classroom at your age, that your study skills are rusty, or that your family and friends won’t understand why you are going back to college. If fears like those are stalling you, it’s helpful to create some worst case scenarios about the bad things that could happen to you if you go back to school. If the worst thing that can happen is that you feel a little funny when you take a class again, what’s so bad about that? If it takes you a week to get your study habits tuned up – well, that’s not going to kill you, is it? If one of your friends doesn’t think you should be going back to school – well, that’s her problem, right? A worst case scenario almost always shows that the benefits of taking action outweigh the downside.
  • You could be letting false assumptions stall you. Perhaps you’re thinking “I just can’t afford to pay what college costs today” or, “No college is going to accept me at age 55.” You can use assumptions like those to justify staying in a rut. Or you could research your assumptions to be sure they are true. The fact is, college doesn’t cost as much as you might believe. Also, colleges are accepting students at age 55, 65, even 75 and beyond today. Don’t let fears and excuses stand between you and your dream.

Jump In and Start Swimming

Diana Nyad couldn’t swim from Cuba to Florida when she was 28. She can make it at age 64 today. That goes to show what a human mind can accomplish – a human mind like yours. So if you’re hesitating about of going back to college, today’s the day to jump in and get started.

How to go back to college

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