As someone who went back to college as a nontraditional student, I can attest to the fact that it can be more stressful than when you attend college right out of high school. While both situations can be stressful, I think being a nontraditional student has some different obstacles to overcome. The important thing to realize is your feelings are normal and probably are being felt by others who are also attending college for the first time.
You might find yourself feeling anxious
because of all the unfamiliar sights, sounds, and people, not to mention experiences. As a nontraditional student your priorities might prove to be different, it is not about making friends and attending parties; instead you are there to learn and better yourself so you can move up in your career or even make a career change. On the flip side you might feel more confident because you have experienced the world a little more than the “typical” college aged student, although be careful being overconfident could backfire and cause you problems. Remember you are still a student no matter how old you are (this can be applied to treating your professors as such, even if they are younger than you).
You might find yourself stressed, intimidated and even overwhelmed.
There are so many things that surround the start of college, like finding your classroom, working on a schedule, buying your books, and getting situated in the new environment it is common and normal to feel intimidated and even overwhelmed for the first few days or even weeks but once you get in the swing of things you should begin to feel better. Although you might still feel stressed simply because college is a stressful environment, if you ask me I think it is because you are paying for this education so it is vital you pass and earn that degree your family or even career could depend upon it, putting much more pressure on you.
As a nontraditional student, I found it stressful to work my family responsibilities of a husband, kids, and a house along with a job around college life. While other classmates were focused on their schooling and possibly a part time job I had multiple full-time jobs as well as being a full-time student, it can prove overwhelming at times, especially when it comes to trying to study for tests, but I will say that it is well worth the investment of time and effort because when you walk out of that college holding your degree you can be proud in knowing you are a successful nontraditional student who has just earned a college degree. Good luck and remember all the emotions you are feeling are normal and will pass as time goes on, be patient.