Anyone go back to school later in life?

Larry F

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At 18, my band had an apartment that became a center of activity for a bunch of high girls and us, the band. I had saved $1,000 for college, and just tossed those dollar bills into the air.

At 24, I developed tendonitis and laid down the guitar. Re-started my undergrad program and did swimmingly. Then onto University of Chicago for a PhD in composition. Well, well, well. I got to know a lot of students, some of whom shared an apartment with me. We had:

London School of Economics professor and anarchist. Died and left behind 5 or more books.
UMass Amherst, professor of English
Filmmaker and professor in NYC.
Senior Editor of Bulletin of Atomic Scientists
Former Red Guard in 1970s China.
Guardian Angel, an undergrad
2.5 white supremacists. Lived off disability, and sat in kitchen yelling at the tv.
An undergrad who became a real estate executive in Chicago
Undergrad who became a Chicago cop, later developed community programs.

More will come to mind later.

In some respects, I got a helluva education living with these folks.

I had few attachments at the time, so I was able to know a number of them.

I taught at Columbia College Chicago and DePaul University. The students were part of a recording program, and worked as interns in the Chicago recording scene. I learned a lot from them. One of my students was a blues guitarist named Quintus McCormick. At DePaul, I once had a 30-ish Catholic nun in my class. She was beloved by the whole class. Although, when the Church leadership voted down a proposal to allow female priests, she came to class looking like everybody better look out. She was pissed. One of the students (before class) had been chatting with a few others, when he said, "Isn't that right sistah?" Usually she enjoyed chatting with the other students, but not on this particular morning. Again, the kid says "Right, sistah?" The nun just stared straight ahead and said, "I'm off the clock." Whew! Silence and stunned faces all around.

My PhD thesis paper was advised by a math professor of repute. He taught me the mechanics of writing proofs, and gave me lots of time and attention. A lot of doors were opened to me at Chicago.

If you can swing it, you might be able to find a few cool projects to do. Best years of my life.
 

Sparky2

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I worked for a nearby University for a couple years, back in 2004/2005.

One class per semester was free to me, so I spent evenings pursuing my Masters In Psychology.
(Never finished it, but enjoyed the studies.)

I was 45 years old, and as the eldest fellow in all my classes (actually just about the ONLY fellow in most of my classes), I felt very much like Methuselah among so many studious and idealistic vestal virgins.

Disconcerting it was.
:(
 

Chiogtr4x

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I am happy ( now 63) with how my life has turned out, mainly because of the wonderful wife and family I have, and my love for music/playing the guitar- and even becoming a 'casual professional ' performer.
( note: around 40, I really did not know what else I could do, what I was good at, made me happy, so I just embraced trying to be a working pro guitarist/singer...)

In College ( liberal arts) back in '76, I started out well enough, taking all the required liberal arts and electives, did well, enjoyed school. I became a Foreign languages major ( I guess to become a teacher, or maybe broader, get into government?).

But my last 2 years, I started partying and playing a lot of guitar, and having fun doing this, and any career orientation/direction for me just became unfocused, and College just became something to get through, finish.

My interest and grades dropped, I did get a BA, but would spend the next 30 years ( who knew?), not following up really, but actually working in the same job and biz I worked in during HS and College Summers and vacations...

Wish I could have a redo on College, stayed serious and more focused on career, but the guitar won out!
 

JamesAM

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Virginia, USA
I've gone back twice. I was initially going to university in 2003 for strings performance, but switched to English to be more "marketable(?)" or maybe "employable"(?). Looking back, that was ridiculous and I should have more seriously considered music as a career. However, I do think keeping music as a hobby has kept the magic in it for me, which might not have happened if it was my daily grind.

First time I went back was in my late 20s to get my masters, which was a blast. As I mentioned, I was an English major in undergrad, and decided to get a masters in systems engineering for work (which is basically applied math and statistics). I had to learn a ton of freaking math before going through that program, and had to learn way more during it. Met some great folks and learned a lot, as well as seriously bolstered my career.

The second time was for a doctor of engineering (Eng.D) which I started in August of 2020, and luckily the entire coursework requirement was online and I finished it very quickly. still a ton of freaking math. I am now looking at dissertation defense on the horizon and finally closing the book on school forever (but maybe staying in academia to teach). Still a long way to go.

I have young kids, and I absolutely can see that me being in school has an impact on them. However, they are young enough that the impact is significantly less than it would be if I did it while they were in elementary school with activities and stuff like that. I had a really small window where I could get this done before it wouldn't have been possible, so I jumped on it.

Good luck to you, and I hope you find what you're after!
 

pbenn

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Yes. In community colleges these days, teachers are not required to be able to spell or write perfect English or proofread their own work.
 

duane v

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I did while raising my daughter, married and a full time job at the age from 38-44. I obtained my BS Mechanical Engineering Degree at San Jose St. I paid $589 a month for 10 years on a loan I took out from my 401k retirement plan, and paid the interest back to myself.

It was nice mixing it up with younger people. It certainly reminded me of why I thought old people sucked when I was their age..... And look at me now... lol
 

Preacher

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My wife went back to school at the ripe old age of 40. She had a few classes to finish her associates (2 year degree) that she started out of high school which really made her feel her age. One of them was introduction to computers where they still were using CRT screens and call the computer the CPU and the monitor the CRT.
She finished her degree in business at Oklahoma State over the next couple of years. In one of her classes she was sitting at a long desk all by herself when this other middle aged woman comes and sits next to her.
The lady leans over and says, "Hi, my names Karen and you are my new best friend." My wife was kind of taken aback at her forwardness but a decade and a half later they are still friends and get together at least once a month.
My wife ended up finishing her Master's degree with her oldest daughter. They were both looking at Master's programs, my wife trying to help the daughter navigate the system. Eventually when my wife decided to pick a Master's program she was so impressed with the daughters program she enrolled as well. It was a hoot for a while to have both of them in the same classes. My wife the overachiever who gets everything done early, and my daughter the procrastinator who waits till the last minute.
 

Preacher

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PS,
I have had numerous opportunities to go back to school. I take a HARD PASS ON ALL OF THEM!
No more classes, no more books! No more teacher's dirty looks!
 

Gnometowner

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Feb 1, 2022
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Stillwater Oklahoma
I live 1/2 mile from the Oklahoma State campus. I will be 70 in July and thought about taking some music classes as a 70th birthday gift to myself.
Met some music department staff here in town, decided if they are the teachers, NOPE, an uncool group of musicians who can be easily triggered by a real gig seasoned guitar player asking questions would not be worth it.
 

SRBMusic

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So many great stories and good advice here. Really heartwarming.
I was a full time musician all through my 20’s. Went back to college at age 30. It took me six years to get my BS. I played and taught guitar all the way through. It was totally worth the struggle. And it was, at times, a real struggle. I had to take one calculus course twice, I got divorced, I got told I wouldn’t make it through the engineering program. All of which made me stronger, more focused and determined to never give up.
I loved being an older student. I listened to my fellow students’ early 20s angst and was able to be a real friend to them while telling myself I was glad I don’t have to go through that phase of my life again. I’m still friends with some of my lab and study partners. I met my wife of now 35 years and have had a wonderful career that wouldn’t have been possible without my degree. Being around younger people is uplifting and inspiring. If someone would pay me to do it, I would have stayed in school forever. It’s the perfect job: you’re always learning new things, hanging out with interesting people, and you get four vacations a year. What’s not to like?
Enjoy the experience!!!
 




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