One of the best experiences of my life has been going back to school as an adult. I grew up in a time when having a college education was not as important as it is today. As I worked my way up in different jobs it became increasingly harder to get into good positions when there where others who had the education along with the experience.
I was so anxious to get out of high school and get to working that I did not think college was necessary. And in the seventies it was not as necessary as it is today. However looking back it would have been the better choice and a lot less of a struggle. Times were hard for me back then because at age eighteen, right at the end of my senior year my dad decided to leave the picture. Mom had never worked and had to go out and get a minimum wage job and everything changed drastically. I knew I had to work and that was that.
I was a hard worker and it got me pretty far in the days when there was still such a thing as working your way up in an organization, even if you didn’t have a college degree. Things are no longer so easy. So at the age of fifty I decided to go back and get my degree. I really had a desire to study and learn new things at this juncture in my life. I think had I gone to college at eighteen I would not have done as well in college because I really was not as interested in learning as I am now.
I started out in community college taking some classes on campus and some online. In the beginning it was a little strange going to classes with mostly eighteen and nineteen year olds as classmates. They gave me a few odd looks now and then but all in all they were supportive and receptive. Some even valued my opinion because of my experience. Many of them were very smart but had little life experiences to go on. They would often come to me for my opinion on different subjects.
I would often ask them for help with some subjects that were harder for me such as math! It had been a long time since I had been in math and a lot of the ways they were teaching it were foreign to me. Everyone in general was very nice and extremely helpful.
I not only wanted to go back to school to keep up in the workforce but because I had a fifteen year old son who was telling me he was not going to college. He pointed out that I did not go and I was doing fine so why should he. Well, that was not acceptable. I challenged him and said if I go back then you have to go, okay? He grinned and said “sure”! He did not know mom very well because I meant it. Not too long after that I enrolled in classes but he still was not too worried because he did not think I would follow through. Little did he know.
I did have a few experiences with some of the young people that were interesting. I was in my first English class with a professor that was around my age. The assignments were mostly writing and grammar related. I worked very hard on my papers and had been in an office environment for over thirty years at this point. If I could not write a descent paper by this time I could not have made it all those years! The professor had us check each others papers for errors and to make suggestions and what not. I could not believe some of the papers these kids were writing! I don’t necessarily mean the grammar as much as the subject matter. Boy I had been out of school for a long time! Anyway, when we got our papers back everyone wanted to know what grade everyone else got and I started to get criticized. I got A’s and they got B’s and C’s and they were making observations that it was because I was the same age as the professor and he was showing me preference! Oh my goodness. This was the first time I had ever gotten preferential treatment for being old! Oh well, I thought, I was not going to try to defend myself. I knew how hard I worked.
I was thrilled to be learning new things whereas when I had been in school years earlier it was just a requirement that was turning into drudgery. I found that I loved learning about our history which I had always found boring in the past. I even loved science and I am not a science person but I found most of it fascinating. I discovered things about myself that I did not know before going to college. Weaknesses I did not know I had and strengths. I had a wonderful time in speech class this time around.
I found my age to be a benefit because I was no longer afraid of speaking in public. I even enjoyed math after getting over the fact that they put numbers and letters in the same equation. How in the world can this be a math problem with if it has letters? Well, I found out and on occasion even had fun with it.
Some of my classes I took online when I had time constraints. I understand from talking to other students it is hard for some people to do. I had a few difficulties at first but found most professors to be very supportive and helpful when you had troubles. I also had some extra help at home when I needed it as I had a twenty two year old daughter who had just completed her bachelor’s degree and was working on her masters. That was a big plus for me! The kids helping the parent in school, nice!
The did not realize that the science classes all had labs attached and I had not been in a lab situation since high school biology thirty-three years prior. I was not a science person and so that was quite an experience for me. My daughter was a science major at the time and knew that I was terrified. Having the wonderful daughter that I have she enrolled and took these classes with me. I was not up for biology which was her forte or chemistry so I ended up in geology which I found intriguing. She had never taken a geology class so she thought she would just add it to her portfolio. With her there I felt much better because I had absolutely no lab experience and was just a little overwhelmed. I had a great time! I loved being at a lab table and sharing information. It was a great experience for me.
It took me about three years to complete my associate’s degree because I was not going full time but that is okay because I was in no rush. It was such an enriching experience for me at this time in my life. I learned so much and met so many great people. Not only other students but I had some wonderful, personable instructors that I thoroughly enjoyed. One of my instructors I still get together with from time to time. I am so happy that I had the opportunity to go back to school. I think everyone should give it a try for at least a semester and see how it can enrich your life!
|Allison Foster writes on behalf of www.nannyclassifieds.com. It provides a great solution to the needs of both nannies and working parents for finding anything on the internet.|
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