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#1142 - 06/01/2004 10:18 AM Re: Back to school at 45? Advice needed!
Kellie Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 06/01/2004
Loc: Texas
I'm 47 and just finished my bachelor of science degree. Furthermore, I loved being back in school so much I applied and was accepted into graduate school this fall. It is wonderful being able to finally say I have a college degree, and to have it in a field I really care about (behavior analysis) is that much the better.

Go for it! You can do it while still working at your current job, or if you can afford to you can do it a lot faster by quitting, tightening the old belt and going full time. I was fortunate that my husband is supporting my education habit. We were unable to get low-interest education loans because he makes too much money, but that has turned out to be a good thing- we won't have post-college debt, even though we're having to be a little more frugal right now.

I am our retirement plan. He's a few years older than I, and by the time I finish my master's, get our kids into college and have some experience in my new field, we can move where I need us to move without having to risk his high paying salary or splitting up our family.

It's definitely worth it! Go for it!


#1143 - 06/02/2004 10:10 AM Re: Back to school at 45? Advice needed!

WTG Vika-I started schol at 35, went 6 yrs straight, got a BA summa cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa, and an MA, with a 4.0. It was so scary-but a lot easier than I had thought. Non traditional students now make up more than 1/2 of all new students, so you will not be alone. I turn 50 this year and am returning for my PhD-can't wait! Good luck-have fun

#1144 - 06/05/2004 10:51 AM Re: Back to school at 45? Advice needed!
Serenity Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 06/05/2004
Loc: Armed Forces Europe (Germany)
Hi there everyone!

I am so happy to know I am not alone! I am a 35-year-old child-free Army whose husband is currently in Iraq serving in Operation Iraqi Freedom. I am in currently living in Germany, where he was stationed before being deployed.

I work full-time in retail on post here. While he has been gone a little over a year now, I decided when I turned 35 that now was the time to pursue my lifelong dream of becoming a psychologist. Because I am in Germany, going to school physically was not possible, but I am now enrolled in Louisiana State University's Independent Study program and am making a go of it. I even convinced my neighbor, recently out of the Army with a husband in Iraq herself, to start school and go for a degree as well.

I am excited to be embarking on this new adventure and I am glad to be here for support and the friendship of like-minded individuals. Congratulations to all here who have made it, and good luck to all who are, like me, still on the journey.
Have a great day,


#1145 - 06/05/2004 18:16 PM Re: Back to school at 45? Advice needed!
momstnurse Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 06/05/2004
Loc: key largo
WOW! I should have seen all of this when I had decided to go back to school 2 years ago!. It certainly would have helped. I am now 47 years old (almost 48) and too decided with three children grown and gone and one left at home, I was ready to do something besides work in an office the rest of my life. I started by going part time to the local community college. I am now going full time and working part time. What a fantastic way to build your self esteem! I will be graduating with a 3.8 (or higher) next May with an AA in Nursing. I have already decided to continue on with my education to a BA, then possibly a Masters. It has been the best thing for me and my son, who has seen by example how important homework is, not me just preaching to him. GO FOR IT!. You are never too late. Our college just had a graduate that was over 70 this past spring. YOU ARE NEVER TOO OLD! It only took a short period of time (the first few weeks) to "re-learn" how to study again. If you're not sure about it, start part time at a local community college. I highly suggest it. (I was only a 2.8 student in High School too, it's amazing what I COULD have done!)
Good Luck, you'll never know if you don't try it

#1146 - 08/03/2004 18:50 PM Re: Back to school at 45? Advice needed!

Just reading through and today i made the decision to leave my current job and go back full time. Got my motivation from reading here and something that popped up in my email. Ill share it below.

I'm reading more and dusting less. I'm sitting in the yard and admiring the view without fussing about the weeds in the garden. I'm spending more time with my family and friends and less time working. Whenever possible, life
should be a pattern of experiences to savor, not to endure. I'm trying to recognize these moments now and cherish them.

I'm not "saving" anything; we use our good china and crystal for every special event such as losing a pound, getting the sink unstopped, or the first Amaryllis blossom.
I wear my good blazer to the market. My theory is if I look prosperous, I can shell out $28.49 for one small bag of groceries...

I'm not saving my good perfume for special parties, but wearing it for clerks in the hardware store and tellers at the bank.

"Someday" and "one of these days" are losing their grip on my vocabulary; if it's worth seeing or hearing or doing, I want to see and hear and do it now.

I'm not sure what others would've done had they known they wouldn't be here for the tomorrow that we all take for granted.

I think they would have called family members and a few close friends. They might have called a few former friends to apologize and mend fences for past squabbles.

I like to think they would have gone out for a Chinese dinner or for whatever their favorite food was.

I'm guessing; I'll never know.

It's those little things left undone that would make me angry if I knew my hours were limited. Angry because I hadn't written certain letters that I intended to write one of these days. Angry and sorry that I didn't tell my
husband and parents often enough how much I truly love them. I'm trying very hard not to put off, hold back, or save anything that would add laughter and luster to our lives.

And every morning when I open my eyes, I tell myself that it is special. Every day, every minute, every breath truly is a gift from God.

I don't believe in miracles. I rely on them.
Life may not be the party we hoped for, but while we are here we might as
well dance.

#1147 - 08/08/2004 09:56 AM Re: Back to school at 45? Advice needed!
KFitzpatrick Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 08/08/2004
Loc: Colorado
Hi vika,
I understand exactly where you are coming from. I think you should go for it!
I have been working in the IT field for 14 years and was actually pursuing a degree in Information Technology when it suddenly dawned on me that I was tired of what I was doing and no longer felt that it satisfied me.
I haven't figured out a way to quit my full-time job to go to school full-time so if you do... please forward the info. But, I changed my major to Environmental Sciences about two years ago and am now going for a complete career change! I figure I've got another 20 years to work so I should do something I really love.
I'm always the oldest person in my class (I'm 46) but the kids have been great and I'm a lot more focused on my studies this time around so I'm really enjoying myself. It will take me about two more years to finish my BS because I can only afford to go part-time but it's been worth it.
I can't say that it's been easy making the transition but if you are feeling the "cosmic pull" you should listen and proceed.
K. Fitzpatrick

#1148 - 08/15/2004 16:40 PM Re: Back to school at 45? Advice needed!
Miriam Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 08/15/2004
Loc: CA
Hi--SO glad I found this page here. I am 46 and start school tomorrow with my 18 year old son. (of-course totally separate classes) I took 2 classes years ago and did well, but never went back--kind of scared I think of really getting into it and not doing well.
I am really excited now though and feel like at last at my age I can earn an AA at least. Any encouragement would be great, does this board have any chat times, etc. Thanks much--Adele

#1149 - 08/29/2004 12:58 PM Re: Back to school at 45? Advice needed!
deana Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 08/29/2004
Loc: Texas
Please help me with a story. I am writing a story about older students returning to college. I am a returning student, age 53, but I am also a writer for a newspaper.

What are the difficulties you encountered in returning to school? What has helped you most in returning to school?(Even if it is little things like finding a good study place). What advice would you give younger college students about finishing their degrees?

Please mail reply to

#1150 - 09/16/2004 22:56 PM Re: Back to school at 45? Advice needed!
jinjer Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 08/09/2003
Loc: Texas
I am attending my second year of college after returning last year at age 45! I reduced my library work hours from 40 hrs to 20 hrs and took 12 credit hours each semester. This year
I am taking Fall semester classes at 17 credit hours. I love it! I have a son in college who has encouraged me to go back to school. I have a 4.0 grade point average so far, it shows that
you have strong skills even in returning after being away for so long. I had gone to college right after high school for 1 year and those credits have transfered. I say, Go For It! You will not regret it, but feel a renewed interest in your life!

#1151 - 09/21/2004 12:08 PM Re: Back to school at 45? Advice needed!
been_there Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 09/21/2004
Loc: Georgia
I am in your spot. I was a highly specialized upper level person that got the heave-ho during a corporate buy-out. I have the BS but have worked myself into such a specialized field that I would have to relocate halfway around the world to do what I am qualified to do. I decided to learn a new trade. Let me offer a few hard things I have learned.
First take the time to look into what you want to do. Don't just look to see what you like, look to see what is needed that you like. For instance nurses are in very short supply and you could get most of your education (plus scrubs, equipment) paid for.
Second, if you are single like and accostomed to having the house to yourself, getting a roommate may not be the best thing initially. Wait until after you go back to school to decide, a roommate may be more stressful than it would be worth until a new routine is established. Of course finding another student may be a great study aid.
Third (and for me the most important) learn to study again. If you have to start from the beginning with the core classes go ahead and sign up for a remedial "how to study in college" class. Or start out at a community college. I have found more people closer to my age experiencing the same issues there.
Whatever you do make sure you are enjoying yourself. Take the time to plan for financial aid and grants. The student loan interest rate is really low right now, take advantage of
Best of luck.

#1152 - 09/27/2004 08:06 AM Re: Back to school at 45? Advice needed!
Patty Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 09/27/2004
Loc: sunny California
Hi! I'm 42 and going to college full time. During the day. With the (GASP!) 18-21 year olds!!

I closed my consulting business (I was a contract computer programmer) about 2 years ago to go to school full time. It was just taking too long and I just don't have the self-discipline some folks (like my husband whom is a 41-year-old college student) do to work AND go to college full time.

I earned my AA and finished all my lower-division transfer course work at the community college. I am now in my second semester at a state university (my hubby is in his first semester at a university) and I'll be graduated May of 2005. I'm hoping to go straight into grad school (I'm in love with my discipline!).

The advantages of going to school at this age is that with your life experiences you understand why it's important to take the classes they force you to take. Even the classes you find no value in at least teaches you to think. Having the breadth of GE's is what makes you adaptable in the "real world". For most jobs it doesn't matter what your degree is in (so get study what interests you the most!), what's important is that you finished school and you learned to learn and you learned to think.
If life hands you a lemon - make lemonade!

#1153 - 10/02/2004 06:34 AM Re: Back to school at 45? Advice needed!

I worked several years as a mechanic and also went to night school. I got a degree in Hospitality management because I thought I may want to work in the casino business some day. It took me ten years to get that degree only to find I could make more money as a mechanic. I went into engineering and have worked as an engineer for the last 13 years. It has always haunted me that I do not have an engineering degree (even though most people I work with don't have any idea I don't have an EE).

I went back to school last year to get an MBA at age 40 (from a pretty decent school). My wife thought I was crazy. I will be done next spring. I plan on either going back for an undergrad engineering degree, law or PhD. All I know is I have the momentum and drive now more than ever (at age 41).

I have challenges such as two small children, big mortgage, and my wife does not work. If I could figure out how to go back full time I would. Part-time schooling will probably be a part of my life indefinetly! I truly love the academic world and have no regrets making the sacrifices to return for my MBA. Law school is tricky though. Many top schools will not admit it, but they do not want older students!

#1155 - 11/18/2004 22:11 PM Re: Back to school at 45? Advice needed!
vanna Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 11/18/2004
Attending a community college is a worthwhile consideration, no matter what your age. For me it has been a cost-effective way to try courses that I find interesting and to help me decide on a major.
I headed to college thirty years after I graduated from high school. I have been a stay-at-home mom since my children were born and now I am approaching an empty nest.
I find that I am very motivated to learn and that after getting over the initial trepidation, I am enjoying and greatly benefiting from the experience.I feel that older students have much to offer in terms maturity and life experiences.

#1156 - 11/28/2004 15:33 PM Re: Back to school at 45? Advice needed!
superc Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 11/28/2004
Loc: Toronto
Don't sell your house! property gives you power when the going gets tough and you have something to fall back on; money in the bank will only diminish! you did not mention if you own the house free and clear; if you do congrats! you got yourself more freedom!

I own an apartment, with mortgage and hideous service charges, and I am a fulltime student. I work very part time and do not even make enough to cover my own expenses, however how do I do it? Well, apart from being a part time writer I also rent out two of the three bedrooms in my apartment. they cover all the fees, mortgage payments and there is even a little bit left each month in case something breaks (trust me it has). it is not always fun to live with other people, but it is necessary and in the end I'll have my very own home. The rent will not pay off the mortgage, but the value of the house will rise while I am getting my degree.

look at your house and see if you can rent out a room or two.. do you have a basement apartment? that would be great because you still keep your own privacy! also look at the market and the state your house is in to determine appropriate rent, then look for candidates!
I find professionals or graduate students are a much safer bet than undergrads, in all circumstances.

good luck! let us know what you decide! oh and btw... GO FOR IT! GET YOUR DEGREE! It'll make you so proud!

common college problems? perhaps I can help! :

#1157 - 11/29/2004 12:56 PM Re: Back to school at 45? Advice needed!
storydrops Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 11/29/2004
Loc: Florida
Hi Vika and everyone,
It's so great to see all of the support in here. I can't believe that I've waited this long to reach out.
Politigal, your story has helped as well. I'm 30 years old, engaged and live on a very small island in Florida. there simply is nothing here. I'm looking for a college to get my degree, I mean I'm just starting. i have buried this dream for so long. My partner went all the way through mediacl school, we have such different backgrounds. I've been so embarrassed to start at 30, but I want to pursue a career in freelance writing. This is scary, and embarrassing, any advice?

#1158 - 12/24/2004 01:28 AM Re: Back to school at 45? Advice needed!
Zon 7 Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 12/24/2004
Hello everyone,

It is really wonderful seeing so many people of mature, or almost mature, age making dramatic and creative changes in their lives, abandoning things that have become meaningless to them and pursuing their dreams of a lifetime.

I have just turned sixty, but I'm still young in both looks and spirit with a tendency to rebel against cliches, against the rigid and the boring.

I dropped out of full-time uni studies in the early seventies, the flower era. I resumed my studies much later through distance education. I got my bachelor's when I was 44, my master's at 50 and my Ph.D. at 54.

Distance or online education is an ideal option for mature students and I found it quite challenging and satisfying. However, accredited distance education is very expensive in the U.S. Try U.K. and French universities, if you speak French, although some French universities have introduced English language programs for advanced degrees (mainly Ph.D's). U.K and French universities are unbelievably cheap.

Zon 7

#1159 - 12/25/2004 20:52 PM Re: Back to school at 45? Advice needed!
dreamr7557 Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 12/25/2004
Loc: Pennsylvania
Hi Vika,

I am 41 years old, a single mother of a teenage son and wanting also to find a way to go back to school.

How do I fit school in when I can barely make ends meet? I can't quit my job, it's my only income. I have a mortgage and a car payment that takes every cent I have.

Someone please tell me how to get through this without going on welfare.

Panicing in Pa

#1160 - 12/27/2004 10:58 AM Re: Back to school at 45? Advice needed!

I wanted to respond about going to school and mortgages and car payments and not going on welfare. I am 35 a single mother, and planning to move across country to start a ph.d. program. I worked my way through my masters on my current job, it took 3 years.
I plan to sell my house and pay off my car before I go, I will also be leaving a well paying job where I am a director. Just last night a friend pretty much told me that it was a stupid thing to do. But I have to live my life, so I don't care what he thinks.
I think what you are willing to give up is definitely a very personal choice. It makes my stomach turn to consider selling my house, but I can buy another one someday when I am a professor or research associate. Its hard to think that far ahead, but I remember when working on my bachelors I thought I would never see days when I wasn't poor. Roughing it will only be temporary. Yes it is difficult to make choice that will alter the quality of life you are used to, again this is a very personal choice. I research housing costs and took into consideration various other expenses and created a yearly budget. I can get a ta-ship or ra-ship to cover my tuition and bulk of my living expenses, the shortfall is about 10K per year.

#1161 - 01/07/2005 10:16 AM Re: Back to school at 45? Advice needed!
michigan01 Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 01/07/2005
Vika -

You can do it! Take one step forward and go for it.

6 months ago I quit my job. I was making six figures but was the most unhappy person around. I spent 5-6 days on the road, my home I felt was at the Embassy Suites :)

Today I work in an office doing general processing and making nothing compaired to what I was making before, but I enjoy getting up in the morning.

I have one more year left until I get my teaching certificate and then I am done with school. So far has been an adventure but I wouldn't change a thing. You create your own freedom, goals, dreams and feelings.

If I can do it, then anyone else can do it. Best of Luck!!!

#1162 - 01/10/2005 14:21 PM Re: Back to school at 45? Advice needed!
lcp Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 01/10/2005
Hello All,
I want to get a PhD in physics, and I am 51. I have very good (old) bachelors degrees, but have not been able to get an interview or a job for 3.5 years. So I have virtually no money. I have asked on wiphys for help, and have done research, but have only been able to find "token" grants/scholarships for 500 to 1000 dollars. I have been told to go to England to get it in 3 years instead of 6-10 in the US. Given that I have no home, no pension to look forward to, and just the passion for the topic,and all the jobs appear to be in academia which does not interest me, (I want to work in industry or at a national lab)does anybody have any advice?
Thnaks much...

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