female adult student expresses emotions

Whether you’re going back to school to continue earning that degree you started years ago or you’ve decided to pursue your college studies for the first time, this life-enhancing decision was inevitably preceded by first weighing lots of factors, including: your schedule, your finances, your support system, and your career goals. Having decided that there is no better time than right now to put your academic goals into action, the more prepared you are, the more enjoyable the adventure will be. As you embark on this wonderful, exciting, and challenging academic journey, it’s important not only to be aware of the different emotions you will feel along the way, but also how to handle them when they show up!

#5 – An Overriding Sense of Commitment

At some point along your academic journey, you are going to feel 100% committed and confident about your academic pursuits. The feeling of commitment will be similar to the feeling you get when you go for your daily walk with your dog, attend morning Mass, or choose water over soda pop. It won’t be a struggle. It won’t be a drag. You will actually look forward to your next assignment, discussion, and course. When that innate sense of commitment shows up, nothing and no one can stop you from achieving your daily, weekly, and monthly goals.

How to handle it: Embrace it

Everyone knows people who are committed to something that is good for them. From physical fitness buffs and avid book readers, to gluten-free folks and vegetarians, once someone is committed to something that is good for them, there’s no need to wonder if they are still passionate about it the next time you see them. They are. When you suddenly realize that you are committed to the learning process and earning your degree, embrace it – it will become an integral part of who you are. Your commitment to your academic accomplishments will radiate for all to see through your words, actions, and decisions.

#6 – Acceptance

Once you’ve overcome the doubt, fear, and procrastination that will inevitably show up at the onset of your journey, acceptance will settle in. You’ll realize that you are exactly where you are supposed to be, and that you are accomplishing a life-changing goal with every assignment, every course, and every semester you complete. Accept that you are going through the process and that the light at the end of the tunnel is going to be there and it will be in the form of a degree!

How to handle it: Continue to act

Your actions will forever speak louder than any words you can share with someone. Continuing to move forward on your academic journey speaks volumes of your acceptance of your new, wonderful role as a college student.


With every big decision in life and with every big change, different emotions will come and go. Understanding that it’s ok to feel the way you are feeling, that you’re not alone on your journey, and that you are exactly where you are supposed to be will help you enjoy your academic journey. While earning your degree is the goal, all the experiences, accomplishments, and friendships you make along that journey will be just as integral to your development and success as a contributing member of society as the actual degree.

Catch up on this series:

6 Emotional Stages Every Adult Student Experiences: #1 & #2

6 Emotional Stages Every Adult Student Experiences: #3 & #4


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