In a few weeks, I will have met all the requirements to be awarded a Bachelor’s Degree. I am very proud of that accomplishment as it was not an easy endeavor. That may mean nothing to many, but it means a great deal to me. After years of working and obtaining professional certificates in Business, Office Management, Retirement and Pension Planning and Insurance, to name a few, I decided to go back to school to get an official “degree.” However, people continually ask me “why did I bother, at my age?”
The reasons are as endless as questions a toddler asks. My primary objective was to break a familial mindset where “men should go to college and become professionals” and “women should have a job then raise a family.” That thinking was so archaic and I resented it.
What I find comical are the responses by young people when questioned why older adults would want to go back to school. Here are some of the answers I found online (please excuse my laughter in the background…):
“Why do really old people go to college?” (BTW, what do they consider “old?”)
Answer 1: “There is this lady in my science class who is at least 60 something. Honestly, why do they waste their time in college, because all she does is ask stupid questions and make dumb comments that are normally racist. Maybe its a goal of hers, I dunno, it just bothers me because all she does is disturb the class.”
Answer 2: “Stupidity knows no age…”
Answer 3: “Because they can for free.. and it gives them something to do.”
Answer 4: “My mom is over 50 and went back to school about 4 years ago. She’s working towards a bacheler’s in history and should be done a year from May. Why did she go? She had never gone to college, but has worked at the University of Oklahoma for 10 years now. She was curious. She knew that there was a lot she didn’t know. She tried it out for a few semesters and she’s a great student. Doesn’t interrupt the class and doesn’t ask many questions. In my college career, there were a few older students that were annoying, but most were like us once they got into the classroom. They just knew more about life than we did, even though we though we knew everything. It becomes more humbling in retrospect.”
I’ll be nice and not criticize the grammar, although it kills me. These were some of the first comments I found in the search engines and although it was difficult to believe myself, they were found on a Subaru Impreza Owners Club Forum from 2004: (http://forums.nasioc.com/forums/showthread.php?t=488822). Whatever. I wonder what type of positions these individuals found after graduation.
Here is another response from Answers.com: “Older people go to college usually to get more experience. Maybe they need a certain skill to get a position at a job, or they need more experience if they want to get a promotion. Especially after the recession people who got layed off need to go a different way and a different way usually means a different education.” Besides the other comments, “LAYED OFF”…really? Holy crap! I’m tired of reading posts from college students who cannot write properly! SPELL CHECK DOES NOT CHECK FOR GRAMMATICAL ERRORS. $30k+ a year and they still can’t spell or write a coherent sentence.
I wonder if my comments would have been that much different when I was younger. What I do know is that I worked harder than most college students today. I also have the benefit of having life experience. I still have to come to grips that many employers might not want to hire an older individual in today’s marketplace for a number of reasons. I’m not worried though.
There isn’t anyone on the face of the earth who can halt my goals and aspirations. I’ll know how to secure suitable employment if and when I seek it. Wisdom of the ages is something you cannot purchase; it has to be experienced. That is what I have going for me. And soon, I can add a diploma to that; I earned it.
“It is a thousand times better to have common sense without education than to have education without common sense.” ~ Robert Green Ingersoll