Going back to school is a giant step. It can be a wonderful experience, but it can also be a scary one. You are no longer in class with your peers, but with other students who may be much younger than you. You may be left wondering how to integrating with other students who are your juniors.
Following are some things you can do to make interacting with younger students easier.
* Be yourself
You are a unique individual, and there is no need to try to change yourself into something that you are not to try to fit in. Yes, you are an older student, and that, in and of itself, is quite an accomplishment. Chances are you are juggling a family, school, and a career. So, don’t be ashamed of being older. Be proud of your accomplishments and who you are. Remember it took guts to return to school.
Your younger classmates may do things a little differently from the way that you do. They may listen to music that you hate or dress in a way that you find totally inappropriate. However, before you write them off, get to know them. Be accepting of your differences. Not to say, you have to start acting or dressing the same way. Keep those negative thoughts to yourself, and remember you were their age once. Remember how you felt and the struggle you had to find your own identity. Try to find something you have in common with them and be friendly.
* Set the tone
People will treat you according to the way you present yourself. You have to set the tone during your interactions with younger students. Don’t be condescending. Show them respect and demand it for yourself. Let them know when they do something that you find offensive in a firm, but kind way. If their language bothers you, kindly excuse yourself from their presence.
* Be a role model
As an older student, you have a wonderful opportunity to show your younger classmates how to behave. Demonstrate compassion and respect. You would be amazed at the number of students who are watching you and who will try to emulate your behavior.
In conclusion, interacting with younger classmates is not as hard as it may seem. Although it may seem like you are worlds apart, you may be amazed to discover that your and some of your younger classmates actually have several things in common.