Anyone go back to school later in life?

Engine Swap

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Got a BA in Cognitive Psychology at 21

Went back and got a EE at 33 - was older, but not the oldest

Went back and got an MA at 43 - might have been the oldest

in spite of being older, I never felt old. Enjoyed the experience and it was worth the effort. Definitely believe that I got more out of school when I was older.
 
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Jared Purdy

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Did you feel as out of place on a college campus as I did today? At almost 42 I'm officially a college student again. I wasn't even in a class, just going to meet with my advisor, but I felt so...old :rolleyes:. It was an odd feeling really, because the campus was just like I remembered it, and I attended there for literally 10 years right out of high school, full and part time.

In that span I got an AS degree in drafting and was one class away from my AA in general studies with the intent of transferring to the local university for a BS in civil engineering (hopefully). Then in 2008, over a span of 4 months my wife got laid off (for the second time by the same company), I took a $10/hr pay cut to keep MY job, and we found out we were having our first kid, the economy tanked and school didn't seem like such a priority.

3 kids and 14 years later I finally took the leap and re-enrolled, after hemming and hawing about the idea for several years. Now thanks to some new state requirements I actually need 2 classes to finish my AA, but nothing major.
It's never too late to learn. As a college professor, I routinely get students who are in their 40's. Things happen that require us to make changes. The fact that you're doing it is commendable! You have a lot of life skill that you can bring to the class. Other students will appreciate that.

I applied to university to do my PhD when I was 54. I got in, but ultimately decided it wasn't for me. I've become far to bohemian in my day to day living. Also, in terms of employment, it would not have been any benefit to me what so ever. When I was sitting in seminars, listening to students who were much younger than me, pontificating on all manner of social issues, the likes of which they had read about, but never experienced, I decided I couldn't stomach sitting in those classes, part time, for six years, which is how long it would have taken to complete it. A college diploma though can be had in much shorter time, at fraction of the cost of a PhD. Enjoy!!
 

OmegaWoods

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Yes. Did an online BS in Business Management in 2007 from WGU. Returned in 2015 to do my MBA. An excellent decision all around, in my experience.

I'm glad I did it and I'm glad it's over.
 

Telekarster

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Yep sure did. I was 38 and went back for my MBA, and I got it, but it was probably one of the toughest things I ever did in my life. I would not do it again, but it was worth it cause it kept me in the running with all the youngsters ;) Only reason why I did it
 

stormsedge

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I papered my professional life with a BA and an MS between '78-87. I take a class of interest every now and then at the local U...now over 60, it costs me $50 per class plus supplies. I'm signed up for a basic Spanish class this term...Wilderness First Responder and three art classes in my wake.

The other students have generally been polite and some are interested in what I've done, and where I've been. There usually comes a point, however, where it is intellectual overload for most because the frame of reference/common experience doesn't exist. We don't hang out...even though I have the time ((LOL)).

Out of place...no. It really feels no different from when I did my undergraduate work...as a full-time student with a family and a 48 hour a week job---there was no time for haki sac, Days of Our Lives, or carrying signs for poorly conceived causes. My "college experience" may as well have been a trip to Mars.
 

Whatizitman

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I was way too young, immature, and emotionally unstable to start college when I did. I didn't flunk out (almost). But I did leave for a few years to work and do other things. That was helpful in many ways once I went back. Hurtful in other ways, too. But that's another story.

I only say that to note that what saved me during those times is that I simply love learning, being around people far smarter than I, and being in an environment that encourages constant learning and discovery. Even when I was miserable, severely depressed and burned out, I was "happier" being in college than not. That's just me.

I'm not a professor. But I did eventually get a PhD. I'm 50. A huge chunk of my adult life has been in college or grad school. I'd go back again for some degree in a second. I'd be a professional student if I could. But no one has made any good offers to pay me to do that. So I work instead.

I'm a huge proponent of post-high school education. Beside picking up the guitar, it's been a savior for me, in more ways than one. That's no lie.
 

Cpb2020

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I was still in my 20s, but did two graduate degrees at night over 6.5 years while working full time.

There were always several in my situation, particularly as my classes were in the evening. We had a way of finding each other and we were always at the top of our class as we were paying for it ourselves and had no choice but to be efficient.

There were full time day students who took classes in the evening assuming that they’d do better than the evening students because they had more time to study. But it never seemed to work out that way, likely because they were trying to take the easy way out for a reason.

Best of luck!
 

Cpb2020

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Did you feel as out of place on a college campus as I did today? At almost 42 I'm officially a college student again. I wasn't even in a class, just going to meet with my advisor, but I felt so...old :rolleyes:. It was an odd feeling really, because the campus was just like I remembered it, and I attended there for literally 10 years right out of high school, full and part time.

In that span I got an AS degree in drafting and was one class away from my AA in general studies with the intent of transferring to the local university for a BS in civil engineering (hopefully). Then in 2008, over a span of 4 months my wife got laid off (for the second time by the same company), I took a $10/hr pay cut to keep MY job, and we found out we were having our first kid, the economy tanked and school didn't seem like such a priority.

3 kids and 14 years later I finally took the leap and re-enrolled, after hemming and hawing about the idea for several years. Now thanks to some new state requirements I actually need 2 classes to finish my AA, but nothing major.
One cautionary tale is that you’ll be starting your new career older than others as well, as I did.

It bothered me for the first year or two as I just “felt” that I was behind in life. I got over it. There were about 20 of us hired at the same time for the same position. After 6 years I was the only one still standing. Some burned out, others were forced out.

The jury is out on whether being the last one standing was because I was smarter or dumber than the rest. It is more likely because I was accustomed to enduring long term suffering.
 

Killing Floor

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Rock it! Good on you.
First, if you haven’t already, look up “Triple Lindy”.
Study/work hard and I promise you’ll be the one in the tough classes that everyone wants to study with.

How do I know that? Because after over a decade of nearly nonstop recording, gigging and touring I sold off gear and put everything I had into earning a degree in mechanical engineering. I was 30 when I started.
Don’t quit.

And FWIW my wife who is a few years older is scheduled to defend her dissertation this April. I have a college senior who’s consistent dean’s list and has multiple grad school offers. So yes, this rubs off on your kids too.

You got this!
 

Midgetje94

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My mom was 32(?) when she went to school for nursing. I’m 29 and about to go through culinary school to get a degree. (I’ve been cooking and running kitchens for years. But want to make it official lol.)
 

VintageSG

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I did my combined in electronic engineering ( micro electronics ), systems engineering ( mainly embedded micro controllers ) and higher maths in my twenties. It was fun!. I did have an advantage of the young'uns though. The introductory board used a 6502. I'd been programming the 6502 in assembler and direct machine code for both fun and work for a decade prior ;-)
I have the distinction of attaining a distinction, which failed to give me a distinct advantage.
I later, when the Internet developed beyond geek-land and gave us the WWW and online courses worth bothering with, studied cognitive psychology and married that to rider training with a large dose of P.Senge's 'Fifth Discipline' systems thinking. That went down well ( not sarcasm ). Understanding the thought processes a learner utilises and how to overcome them. I really ought to take that further, beyond diploma level at least.
I love learning. Learning is fun.
 

charlie chitlin

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I went back to school at 36 for 2 years for a Master's Degree to start a new career as a teacher.
I said to somebody, "I don't know about this...I'll be 38 by the time I'm done."
He said, "So how old will you be in 2 years if you DON'T go back to school?"
It was cool...I was a bit of the elder statesman, and I ended out having a very cool relationship with my instructors that I wouldn't have had if I was 19.
I even got invited back the following year to speak at graduation.
 

Whatizitman

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And FWIW my wife who is a few years older is scheduled to defend her dissertation this April. I have a college senior who’s consistent dean’s list and has multiple grad school offers. So yes, this rubs off on your kids too.

You got this!

This is a really good point. I started my PhD program just after our second child was born. I was 32. Half of their lives was living with a dad student and worker, and around other grad student families in similar situations. Many of which were international students, multi-generational, and very academic-focused. It was Austin, so you can guess where it was exactly. My loans have since been paid off (forgiven, actually). But many times when I would feel down and frustrated about school debt, my wife would remind me that the experience she and the kids had of living on meager funds, and around so many amazing and highly educated people from around the world was worth the investment. Not to mention, at least up until 2008 or so, there was still a helluva lot a small poor grad family could do around downtown Austin for cheap. Often a great by-product of living in a university town.

That type of stuff sticks with kids. I happen to like my kids' ways of seeing and experiencing the world. Some of their peers... not so much. Both of them have their own struggles in young adulthood, including college. But they also have better problem solving skills and ways to be resourceful and creative with less than many of their peers. They learned that because their parents had to be that to get where they are now.
 
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loopfinding

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i went back after bumming around for a decade after stupidly getting a fine arts degree. in that time i got into DIY and repairing and flipping equipment, and had some work with pedal/synth companies. i decided to get an AAS in EET and it was extremely enjoyable, because it was exactly what i wanted to learn and i was using it outside of school. i put my nose to the grindstone and graduated with almost straight As.

i was going to either finish a 4 year BSEET equivalent here in the EU, or my fallback was a transfer agreement with a school back home. then the pandemic hit and totally screwed me up. i'm still not comfortable with in person classes, and i'm too stupid to do the higher electronics coursework remote.

so now i feel like my choices are a) basically settle for the grunt tech work i was already doing, and my degree was somewhat in vain; or b) switch into a remote CS program (would prefer some kind of CE related degree), since i already have calculus and some programming courses (plus some practical mcu experience) under my belt.

i'm willing to eat a lot of transfer credits and go longer than 2 more years, but i don't know when i'll end up with an actual degree (or a real career). it's been pretty demoralizing to know i almost pulled myself out of the hole, but now after this BS i'm in my mid 30s and still in entry level purgatory.
 
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Jim_in_PA

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I did start an MBA years ago as an adult, although it was an online program. It was a good experience in many respects and academically, I did a lot better than I had performed during my undergraduate days at age 18-22. I actually had a 4.0 for that vs about a 3.1 for undergrad. The only reason I stopped after a year was it was consuming me to the point that it was affecting my physical health, and I was working full time, too. (employer was helping to pay for it) But that's a personal issue and not something that is a risk for everyone for sure.

Professor Dr. SWMBO largely teaches graduate students. Some are masters candidates who come in right after undergraduate work, but a surprising number are folks who have been out in the world working to figure out what they really want to accomplish in their lives and then come back to school to obtain the means to advance their career goals. This particular term is the first time she's ever taught an undergraduate course and the broad demography of the students in that group is pretty impressive. It's not all youngsters!

Increasingly, college campuses have more and more folks in wider and older age groups, including undergraduates. That supports my view that the best time for school is when it's the right time for the individual, whether the reason be financial, maturity, change in career goals, whatever.

The university that's a half a block from our new "downsize" home is currently advertising course for seniors. :) And they don't mean folks in their fourth year of college. ;)
 




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