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Re-entry Student GraduateWelcome to our online student discussion forums! This is the place to ask a question about returning to college, share information with other returning students, or just join in the discussion!

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#1122 - 10/13/2003 18:43 PM Back to school at 45? Advice needed!
vika Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 10/13/2003
Loc: michigan
I'm 45 and for many months have been toying with the idea of quiting my fulltime job, becoming a fulltime student and pursuing a completely different field.

I currently make decent money in a field I fell into taking various classes and gaining work experience, yet never finishing a degree. I own a home, live a comfortable life and can afford to support myself...but I'm tired of doing what I do.

I'd like to take up a completely different field, start over and do it right this time by getting a degree. I feel I can't shake this off as a 'midlife crisis' any longer...I feel I need to make this a reality. I'm single, I have no dependents...I should be able to do this.

I don't even know what I would study but my mind races with thoughts...mentally thinking how can I do this? How do I quit work and start school fulltime...should I mortgage the house to cover basic living expenses? sell the house? get a roommate? Get a parttime less stressful job? Financial aid, loans...

I keep telling myself, other people do this, single mothers with kids do this...I need some direction, opinions...Has anyone else done this?
I would love to communicate with others to hear how they have managed to do this.
Thanks!!!!!

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#1123 - 10/15/2003 17:46 PM Re: Back to school at 45? Advice needed!
hobbit11 Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 10/15/2003
Loc: alaska
Hi vika,
Don't think you are crazy!! I am 41 and seriously planning college and a career change.
Just like you I make a very good living, but I refuse to think that a midlife crisis is the
reason behind the urge to shake up my life. I think you simply reach a point in life
where you can look back clearly, and see what you still want to accomplish. The
good news is there is plenty of time left, and we live in a wonderful society where
we CAN make these changes and fulfill goals of a lifetime!

Read <A HREF="http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0374299897/backtocollege">Traditional Degrees for Nontraditional Students</A>, by C. Fungaroli. Excellent.

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#1124 - 10/18/2003 04:56 AM Re: Back to school at 45? Advice needed!
Maveolous Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 10/18/2003
Loc: Missouri
Hi Vika,
I am 46, single mom, and going to start college. I DID quit my high power job,sold my house and have moved in with my sister. I am in the process now of applying to Univ. of Missouri and going FOR IT. My son is also starting college. I am very nervous and have wondered "Did I do the right thing by selling my house, moving across country and quitting my job" But here I am...so lets wish ourselves GOOD LUCK.

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#1125 - 12/30/2003 07:56 AM Re: Back to school at 45? Advice needed!
Anonymous
Unregistered

If you feel this strongly about continuing your education and changing careers you should go for it! It's that old saying, "where there's a will, there's a way." The reward will far outweigh any immediate loss you may encounter.

I'm fifty-two and will graduate July 2004, with an A.A. in Graphic Design. I plan to continue on, seeking a B.A. and maybe even my Masters. I did give up a lot to be able to pursue my dreams, but I can tell you it has definitely been worth the sacrafices. After my first semester I applied for several scholarships and grants and received them all. Most "older" students do very well, I currently have a 3.89 GPA and am eligible for several more awards.

Good luck in allyour academic aspirations!

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#1126 - 01/04/2004 08:57 AM Re: Back to school at 45? Advice needed!
sparky_tam Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 01/04/2004
Loc: Ohio
Many people live a life full of reqrets...I used to be one. I woke up one day about six years ago and informed my husband I was quitting corporate life, moving to the sticks, and going to become a poor college student. After he thought I totally had lost my mind I convienced him to become poor along with me too and watch our two small daughters while I went to school. I used to be an Advertisng Account Executive and was trained by the President of the company I worked for. When I relocated I couldn't get a position in the same field without a college degree. I took other jobs I hated to get by. I'm graduating this May at 40 with a B.S. Communication degree and despite how poor we have been I honestly COULDN'T BE ANY HAPPIER! My husband is starting his college career next week working for a 4-year Computer Science degree. We figure in six years when our daughter starts college we can actually pay for it and maybe by the time we would have retired we might be able to finally buy our first house. Your much further ahead than we were! I got involved on campus (with the younger students) and have served as a peer Mentoring Chair to assist others with being successful in college, served on a variety of committees along with facutly, and I've been a Student Senator and was actually elected last year as the Student Body Vice-president. Going to college brings out a part of you otherwise you would never discover. Best of luck to you!

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#1127 - 01/21/2004 11:56 AM Re: Back to school at 45? Advice needed!
ametheyst Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 01/21/2004
Loc: Lincoln, ne
i just want to say...here i am almost 49 yr. old and have just started college this month!! and believe it or not, there are several older students...some older than i am, even!! i am proud of myself for doing this as should you be! :p

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#1128 - 01/27/2004 15:30 PM Re: Back to school at 45? Advice needed!
latonia Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 01/27/2004
Loc: MD
Vika,

Just a few words of encouragement. I am a 32 year old mother of 1 and wife of 13 years. I have worked in the Human Resources field for over 13 years. A few years ago I began to realize that I was not happy in my career field. I decided to return to school to become a Licensed Clinican Social Worker. I have been attending school for about 1 year now and have 4 more classes to go before I complete my AA in Psychology. After that, I plan on completing my BA in Psychology and MA in Social Work. I recently decided to quite my full-time job (this summer) and work part-time so that I can devote more time to school and family. My point in sharing this with you is to encourage you to go for it. It is always challenging to make a change especially when you are comfortable in your life (nice income, large home, etc.). I think that you will discover that the change that you are considering will make you feel more alive than you have in years. Returning to school makes me feel excited about my future, connected to my deepest desires (unlike my current career), and most importantly intelligent. Yes, I am concerned about my family's finances when I go part-time this summer, but I often think what would happen if I became disabled or had another baby? Our family would "rise to the occasion" and do what we had to do to make it. I think that you will discover that you will do the same. Sorry to be so wordy, but I truly believe that if you leap, the net will appear.

Concerning how to get started, ask yourself what your passions are and what they were as a child. Also, ask those who are in careers that you admire how they got started. You may also want to go to your local Library or bookstore. There are so many books about careers. You are bound to find a new career that interests you.

Good luck in your pursuits.

Dennika L. Moreland

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#1129 - 01/30/2004 16:01 PM Re: Back to school at 45? Advice needed!
Jackie Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 01/30/2004
Loc: PA
Wow! This is so great. I just found this page while searching the web for information about financial aid for old people like me :-) I thought maybe I could add something to the discussion. I am a 47 (almost 48) year old wife and mother and just started my second semester of college classes. I had never been to college before and was petrified to even try. I thought about it for a couple of years before I actually jumped in and started. Because I have to work full time and have two kids in college in Boston I needed some alternatives. I wanted to try to attend class online and wanted to try for a degree in history but most online schools only offer business, accounting and computer majors. I finally found UMUC...University of Maryland University College. They offer a variety of majors...I am majoring in history. And I am loving it! I thought I would be so out of it and so far behind all the other students but I took two classes last semester, World History I and Intro to Psych and I got A's in both courses. It was blast! All the work except the final exams, which are proctored at an approved site, is done online so you can work pretty much at your own pace week by week. If anyone wants some more information I would be glad to talk to you via email.
Jackie

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#1130 - 03/18/2004 18:04 PM Re: Back to school at 45? Advice needed!
Anonymous
Unregistered

I just wanted to say I am a 48 year old woman in my 4th semester at college. My two brothers also joined me. Then last semester my son started. I started something good and exciting. My son and I are even taking some classes together and helping each other. It's so much fun, and it gives us a new relationship. I am a single parent. I am tired of being a waitress or whatever job I can get. Now I'm studing accounting and going for my masters eventually so I can be a CPA.

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#1131 - 04/16/2004 15:02 PM Re: Back to school at 45? Advice needed!
shar Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 04/16/2004
Loc: Eugene, Oregon
Congratulations! Deciding to return to school is the first step of many. I, too, am 45 (almost 46). I dropped out when I was 20. I was a single mother working full time back then. Fortunately, I have been working successfully in my chosen field (Journalism)for the past 13 years. However, when the publishing company I worked for laid me off, I discovered that in today's dismal economy and despite an impressive resume, I was unable to land another job without a degree. So here I am back in school. It took some adjustment, but I'm loving it...and you will too!

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#1132 - 04/16/2004 15:54 PM Re: Back to school at 45? Advice needed!
Anonymous
Unregistered

Just wanted to add my 2 Cents. Go for it I started a Masters Degree prgram at 51 an will graduate early next year with the hope of a career change. Its never too late to start.

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#1133 - 04/16/2004 18:52 PM Re: Back to school at 45? Advice needed!
seeemeeego Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 04/16/2004
Loc: USA
You can do it! I started back last semester at age 43, having quit college 20 years ago after 3 years. I just took 2 courses to prove to myself I could do it. This semester I am taking 17 hours! I am finally reaching a goal I set for myself years ago but abandoned. In fact, I am living out another of my educational dreams when I leave at the end of this month for a 6 week study abroad in France. Yes, I am even finishing in my original major of French! My love for it was still there after all these years!

Like Nike says, Just Do It! You have no reason not to. And it will be the best thing you'll ever do for yourself. I am so proud of myself and you will be too!

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#1134 - 04/17/2004 12:18 PM Re: Back to school at 45? Advice needed!
ChicoSon Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 08/27/2003
SeeeMeeeGo...I read your post and got excited because I was looking at myself. I'm 43 and its been 20 years for me also. I've been looking to go back in either Pharmacy or English. Returning to school was in my immediate plans but circumstances now are totally crazy! Not to share a sob story but I lost a job, companion, house, and car all in a two year period. Now back living with Mom's doing whatever to get by. And I'm tired. Extremely tired. But I could use your encouragement. Seriously. I wish there was someway for us to share email addresses. I scheduled an appointment to see a counselor at the university, just last week and lost heart when the day came to go bcuz it felt like an interview. I don't know what the h#@* I'm scared of...I think its the fact of failing again. But I know this is something I MUST DO. ChicoSon427@yahoo.com. Hit me back. PLS!

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#1135 - 04/17/2004 17:18 PM Re: Back to school at 45? Advice needed!
politigal71 Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 04/17/2004
Vika,
I see that you don't need any more advice, so I'm wishing you good luck for whatever decision you make. I decided to return to college at age 30 after sitting out for seven years. I was nervous and felt like a fish out of water. But I met some really cool young people and was relieved to notice the lion's share of older college students on campus as well. Now I'm 32 and quit my part-time job last year to pursue my studies full-time. I hope to earn my BS in 2005 and go for my masters in '06. I'm the single mother of a disabled child and parent, both of whom I take care of while commuting to school a total of 450 miles a week!!! If I can do it under those conditions, surely YOU can do it with less stress and much more free time on your hands. I say go for it!

P.S. Older students actually make better students.

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#1136 - 04/20/2004 04:47 AM Re: Back to school at 45? Advice needed!
Anonymous
Unregistered

Get yourself a job in a college or university and they will pay for you to get a degree either 50% or 100% depending on the institution. This is part of a benefit program they have.
I did this myself and speak o fmy personal experience. I got both my Bachelors and MAsters this way.

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#1137 - 05/19/2004 13:02 PM Re: Back to school at 45? Advice needed!
Anonymous
Unregistered

Hi Vika! I'm curious about what you decided to do. It has been about six months since you posted . . . I'd love to hear that you decided to go for it!!

I did not start my college career until I was 35 years old. I received my associates, took a short break, worked part-time on my bachelors, then decided to go for a master's. I've just finished my second semester and have two more to go, plus write my thesis. It has been a wonderful experience. There are a few other students who are close to my age, although I am the oldest in the group. I've found the traditional-age students (22-25 years old) to be open and accepting of all of us non-trads. I am fortunate that my husband retired out of the military and was willing to follow me for a couple of years while I was working on the master's, so the issue of supporting myself was not something I had to be concerned about. I did, however, quit a full-time job, so we have had to alter our lifestyle a bit and adjust to being a one-income family.

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#1138 - 05/24/2004 10:37 AM Re: Back to school at 45? Advice needed!
KGPannell Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 05/19/2004
Wow, what a great thread. I am 30 years old and also giving up a good paying job to complete my education. After reading this thread I am encouraged to press on!

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#1139 - 05/24/2004 20:44 PM Re: Back to school at 45? Advice needed!
mommoe Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 05/24/2004
Loc: MIAMI
I am so glad I came across this site. I was looking for information on aide to help me go back to college. I keep saying to myself, my husband and my friends and family: I just want to go be to college. If I could leave my job tomorrow I would with not thought. I am almost 39 years old and I have a dream. I want to go back to college and get BAs in Interior Design and Art Education. Someday I would like have my own store like a Pier 1 Imports. Reading these replys it is very helpful and needed.

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#1140 - 05/30/2004 18:40 PM Re: Back to school at 45? Advice needed!
pstevens2 Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 05/30/2004
Loc: Ontario
A wonderful strategy you can use while still working is to polish up the required skills to excel in college. Any bookstore has books on improving study skills, and that's the good news. They are skills like any other. You can learn them at any age. Before you quit your job and invest thousands in going back to school, invest a couple of hundred dollars in improving your note taking, speed reading, memory and listening skills. There are books, tapes and videos that will help you do all of this. Practice them while taking a part time course, and then get straight A's when you finally go back.
_________________________
Paul

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#1141 - 06/01/2004 06:31 AM Re: Back to school at 45? Advice needed!
Anonymous
Unregistered

I went to college for the first time at the age of 44 and hope to graduate this coming December at the age of 48. I was also very afraid of failure and my personal ability to do well and to retain the information. I graduated high school with a 2.9 GPA and now I have a 3.8 as a senior in college! I do work full time as well as go to college but I find that I force myself to stay organize or else I get behind. I do love going to college and meeting new people. I am amazed at my ability to understand concepts now much better than I did when I was younger. Once you start back you will find that because it was your choice, you will work harder at it.

Good Luck! wink

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