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Going back to school at 30 years old

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Posts

  • wonderpugwonderpug Registered User regular
    When I went back to finish my degree, I had a 40-hour/week full time job, a full time courseload, and a newborn.

    To make my week manageable, I would typically have one or two classes that had "intensive weekends" for the in-class portion. The intensive weekend courses would have no weekly M-F classes, but would have 2-3 full weekends spread out through the semester. Pretty brutal, each one of those weekends would be Friday night, all Saturday, and most of Sunday for the same class, but I wanted to be aggressive about finishing my degree and this made it possible.

    For the other courses, I'd have 2 or 3 long nights of class, typically from ~6pm-10pm. The other nights would be for soaking up time with my new kid, and after the kiddo went to bed, homework.

    With this schedule, 'fun time' still existed, but it got very much condensed and it made me stick to the things that really mattered. Didn't watch much TV, and video game time shrank to mobile games I could play on the subway. Mostly I wanted my free time to go toward my kid and family.

    So a super aggressive work + school schedule is possible, but you have to really dedicate yourself to it. It's not easy, but it can be extremely rewarding if you really want it and make it happen.

    In my situation though, this aggressive schedule meant I could finish in one year. I don't know if I could have kept it up for a second year.

    cabsy
  • schussschuss Registered User regular
    If you treat classes as a 9-5, it's rare you'll need more than that to finish your degree, leaving your weekends and nights free. For someone who's been out in the workforce and has a work ethic, undergrad is actually reasonably easy from a work requirement standpoint.

    Skeith
  • JeanJean Soon to be papa bear Gatineau, QuébecRegistered User regular
    Just to clarify, I have 15 credits on my schedule (5 classes worth 3 credits each) and 17 hours/week spent in class. i'm not sure if credits are worth the same south of the border but to my understanding ,15 credits/semester is the standard when it comes to being a full time student.

    I don't *absolutely* need that money but I don't wish to stay unemployed for 3 year either. If push comes to shove tough, it's the security job that will get cut. This makes no doubt what's o-ever in my mind. i'm going back to school because I don't want to be a frikkin guard all my life, it would be pretty damn dumb to put that in jeopardy because I spend too much time being.. a guard. :smile:

    I spoke about the matter with my father and it seems to come down to those 3 words : Discipline, disicpline, discipline :) Procrastination is the demon I must slay to be succesful!

    Spend all week in the classroom and library. Spend all weekend at work. I'd be at home pretty much only for sleep/shower/meals.

    I'm somewhat nervous but mostly looking forward to his new,busy life. :)

    "You won't destroy us, You won't destroy our democracy. We are a small but proud nation. No one can bomb us to silence. No one can scare us from being Norway. This evening and tonight, we'll take care of each other. That's what we do best when attacked'' - Jens Stoltenberg
  • schussschuss Registered User regular
    Jean wrote: »
    Just to clarify, I have 15 credits on my schedule (5 classes worth 3 credits each) and 17 hours/week spent in class. i'm not sure if credits are worth the same south of the border but to my understanding ,15 credits/semester is the standard when it comes to being a full time student.

    I don't *absolutely* need that money but I don't wish to stay unemployed for 3 year either. If push comes to shove tough, it's the security job that will get cut. This makes no doubt what's o-ever in my mind. i'm going back to school because I don't want to be a frikkin guard all my life, it would be pretty damn dumb to put that in jeopardy because I spend too much time being.. a guard. :smile:

    I spoke about the matter with my father and it seems to come down to those 3 words : Discipline, disicpline, discipline :) Procrastination is the demon I must slay to be succesful!

    Spend all week in the classroom and library. Spend all weekend at work. I'd be at home pretty much only for sleep/shower/meals.

    I'm somewhat nervous but mostly looking forward to his new,busy life. :)

    While I was in undergrad for business, I worked ~20 hours a week during the week (not including weekends), so there's definitely time for a job.

    Jean
  • ShinyRedKnightShinyRedKnight Registered User regular
    edited June 2014
    I don't have any personal experience as I'm in school at a younger age, but I have had many classmates around your age and much older. They are some of the best at university level work, whether its math, science, or the humanities; the maturity and real world experience seems to help people a lot. Quite frankly, its one of the reasons I'm considering finishing my current program and not coming back until much later. I have the desire to pursue more education, but I do not feel the passion nor the maturity necessary, at least not yet. I hope all goes well for you!

    About work and school:

    I have had experience with this, both great and terrible. Do not underestimate the amount psychological weight school will put on you, at any age. There are times when you just need life to hit pause after a series of projects or finals, and work won't give you that. In my worst experience, I was freaking out about midterms/finals, finishing at the last minute, going to work, and before my system had a chance to relax its time for another project. That can disrupt a person's life, if not tear you apart. If you work, make sure you have a boss who is flexible, and very understanding, and please give yourself time off regularly. I'm not saying skip stuff, but plan to have time where you recharge and enjoy some freedom.

    ShinyRedKnight on
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    PSN: ShinyRedKnight Xbox Live: ShinyRedKnight
  • StericaSterica Wow! That was shit.Registered User, Moderator mod
    schuss wrote: »
    If you treat classes as a 9-5, it's rare you'll need more than that to finish your degree, leaving your weekends and nights free. For someone who's been out in the workforce and has a work ethic, undergrad is actually reasonably easy from a work requirement standpoint.
    Yeah, if you're already disciplined from having a career or just born with a good worth ethic then it's easy as hell if your schedule is reasonable and you don't have responsibilities like children (although one might argue that said responsibilities are WHY you have a work ethic).

    Now, a born slacker like myself...well, you either flunk out or slowly grow up.

    (emphasis on slowly)

    YL9WnCY.png
    ShinyRedKnight
  • SkeithSkeith Registered User regular
    It really depends on the nature of your workload, but you should be able to swing it if you have a solid work ethic. Your dad absolutely has the right of it, it all comes down to personal discipline.

    mts wrote: »
    heres how i see it being a total win situation for you
    1. stay with your wife while she dog sits. this wins husband points since she knows its out of your comfort zone
    2. have sex all over her friends house so that the next time you see her friend look at you condescendingly, you can wink back knowing you did the freaky deaky where she eats her cheerios.
  • silence1186silence1186 Character shields down! As a wingmanRegistered User regular
    Jean wrote: »
    Re-reading this thread makes me smile. I've been accepted to my local university for a bussiness degree. Semester starts September 2nd. :)

    I might as well take advantage of the fact than the mods forgot to close this thread to ask a few more question regarding how to balance work and studies.

    I'll be studying full time, I have 17 hours of classtime on my schedule. For every hour spent in class, you have to read/study/write papers for 2 hours, right?

    Would it be reasonable to work 2x12 hours shift on the weekend on top of working on my degree? It's security so it's not extremly hard work but it's still work. I'm more worried about a lack of sleep than anything else TBH.

    Are you taking classes with kids just out of high school? If so, what's it like taking classes with kids 10+ years younger than you? I've been considering going back myself and have been a tad bit weired out by this.

    Grats on taking a big step towards self-actualization.

    V wrote:
    Words will always retain their power. Words offer the means to meaning, and for those who will listen, the enunciation of truth.

  • schussschuss Registered User regular
    Jean wrote: »
    Re-reading this thread makes me smile. I've been accepted to my local university for a bussiness degree. Semester starts September 2nd. :)

    I might as well take advantage of the fact than the mods forgot to close this thread to ask a few more question regarding how to balance work and studies.

    I'll be studying full time, I have 17 hours of classtime on my schedule. For every hour spent in class, you have to read/study/write papers for 2 hours, right?

    Would it be reasonable to work 2x12 hours shift on the weekend on top of working on my degree? It's security so it's not extremly hard work but it's still work. I'm more worried about a lack of sleep than anything else TBH.

    Are you taking classes with kids just out of high school? If so, what's it like taking classes with kids 10+ years younger than you? I've been considering going back myself and have been a tad bit weired out by this.

    Grats on taking a big step towards self-actualization.

    I'd imagine you get to feel smarter than everyone else as they can barely tie their shoes.

  • DevoutlyApatheticDevoutlyApathetic Registered User regular
    Jean wrote: »
    Re-reading this thread makes me smile. I've been accepted to my local university for a bussiness degree. Semester starts September 2nd. :)

    I might as well take advantage of the fact than the mods forgot to close this thread to ask a few more question regarding how to balance work and studies.

    I'll be studying full time, I have 17 hours of classtime on my schedule. For every hour spent in class, you have to read/study/write papers for 2 hours, right?

    Would it be reasonable to work 2x12 hours shift on the weekend on top of working on my degree? It's security so it's not extremly hard work but it's still work. I'm more worried about a lack of sleep than anything else TBH.

    Are you taking classes with kids just out of high school? If so, what's it like taking classes with kids 10+ years younger than you? I've been considering going back myself and have been a tad bit weired out by this.

    Grats on taking a big step towards self-actualization.

    Having done this: Hilarious.

    The classes I took had a fair amount of adult learners, it wasn't quite 50/50 but it was close. So half the class gave a shit, worried about understanding things and typically had all the homework done. The other half of the class was 18 and 19 year olds who were kinda just fucking around.

    The one thing that worried the hell out of me was all the class rules and stuff were incredibly harsh, given I was working full time I was worried I might miss a class here and there or be late showing up. Talking to the teachers they were completely understanding about how being an adult with diverse commitments meant sometimes things didn't get done. Those rules were there chiefly to shut up the young kids when they didn't do anything and wondered why they failed.

    cabsyLilnoobs
  • wonderpugwonderpug Registered User regular
    edited June 2014
    My program had some classes specifically aimed at adult learners, which were 95-100% comprised of people aged 25 to 50+. I also took some graduate level courses for undergrad credit (because they gave me the credits I needed and looked more interesting to me) which of course skewed older.

    But my program made a big effort at allowing any undergrad course to be available to the adult learners, so I did have some classes with mostly traditionally aged college students. I had several courses with 30-35 students aged 18-22 and just one or two 30+ year olds like myself. But at my school, it was typical to see those one or two adult learners in a class, so it didn't really come across as an unusual situation.

    The one exception was an English 101 class I had to take because my previous English credits didn't transfer over or count for enough credits or some stupid thing. In that class, everyone was straight out of high school in probably their first or second college semester, and I was the only adult learner. I'm sure there were some mature folks in the group, but the majority were still very much in a high school mindset. "What?! Write a four page paper?! In one week?! That's not possible!" From the syllabus, the class itself also looked extremely basic, as you'd expect from a 101 course.

    That class was the only one that seemed too immature, and too easy. I would have been miserable, so I transferred to a more advanced English course that was more challenging but also much more engaging.

    wonderpug on
  • JeanJean Soon to be papa bear Gatineau, QuébecRegistered User regular
    Are you taking classes with kids just out of high school?

    I'm in Québec, here we have CÉGEP after high school which is normally completed in 2 years for the pre-university programmes. Completing that step requires a bit more maturity than high school. I do expect than most of my classmates will be in their early 20s. I'm not really worried about having problems dealing with them TBH. The very bad/unmotivated students that could make life hell in high school won't have made it this far.

    "You won't destroy us, You won't destroy our democracy. We are a small but proud nation. No one can bomb us to silence. No one can scare us from being Norway. This evening and tonight, we'll take care of each other. That's what we do best when attacked'' - Jens Stoltenberg
  • cabsycabsy the fattest rainbow unicorn Registered User regular
    Jean wrote: »
    Re-reading this thread makes me smile. I've been accepted to my local university for a bussiness degree. Semester starts September 2nd. :)

    I might as well take advantage of the fact than the mods forgot to close this thread to ask a few more question regarding how to balance work and studies.

    I'll be studying full time, I have 17 hours of classtime on my schedule. For every hour spent in class, you have to read/study/write papers for 2 hours, right?

    Would it be reasonable to work 2x12 hours shift on the weekend on top of working on my degree? It's security so it's not extremly hard work but it's still work. I'm more worried about a lack of sleep than anything else TBH.

    Are you taking classes with kids just out of high school? If so, what's it like taking classes with kids 10+ years younger than you? I've been considering going back myself and have been a tad bit weired out by this.

    Grats on taking a big step towards self-actualization.

    I'm at a community college but my last semester I went up to the main campus rather than the commuter campus and most of my classes were 80%+ people under 22. Some of it was just surreal to hear, mostly just things like people chatting about very 'high school' esque who's dating who drama before class. Or my biggest complaint honestly would have to be that I don't like it when younger people who are friends sit right near me because they tend to be the most likely to talk all through class and it makes me want to ask them if they could shut the fuck up so I can actually pay attention; but having taken some classes with mid-to-late 20somethings who do this too, it's hardly exclusive to teenagers. The only thing that's been really amusing for me is listening to 18-21 year olds who have that tone that only 18-21 year olds can have where they simultaneously let you know 1: they know everything and 2: you are absolutely too dumb to understand how amazing they are and 3: they're 100% sure that their opinions will never, ever change. And if you in any way mention that they're young they will get REALLY, REALLY MAD.

  • Ninja Snarl PNinja Snarl P My helmet is my burden. Ninja Snarl: Gone, but not forgotten.Registered User regular
    @Jean, wish I'd seen this earlier, because I went back to college when I was 28; I'm now in my third year of what amounts to a Masters/Bachelors program for molecular biology and biochemistry and pretty much kicking ass, with one year left (it's normally a five-year program, but my previous credits let me skip a bunch of the bullshit), with a number of professors pushing me to go for a PhD.

    Is it a bit weird to be in school with people so much younger than me? Pretty much only as weird as you want to make it. Most people don't care, and being older frequently works in your favor because you know why you are there and you aren't some feckless freshman with no understanding of the real world. You won't get caught up in their kid games or bullshit drama, which I did not appreciate at all until I actually went back. Sadly, the people who are dead weight still manage to show up literally every single semester regardless of how advanced a course is (we had asshole pre-med students cheating on senior-level molecular biology coursework and several drag-ass students in the lab course that went with it); the upside is that, as somebody who is really actually an adult, as opposed to just legally an adult, you shouldn't have much trouble keeping those people the fuck out of your way to get your own stuff done.

    As far as working while doing school fulltime (or even much part-time), that depends entirely on your major and course load. Every semester possible, I've been running something like at least 14-15 credits of mathematics and/or hard-science courses, sometimes with worthless stuff like core humanities thrown in there (not worthless because of the content, but because it was way too laid back and tried to teach me things I've had at least once or twice before). Even part-time work was almost entirely out of the question, because I would've basically needed a job where I could be left alone to study for hours. But that's also a major where other people consistently call me crazy for doing it and enjoying it, because it really is a lot of work; stuff like 2-3 tests in different classes in the span of a couple of weeks covering dozens of pages of written notes and hundreds of slides is not at all unheard of in this major. Unless you have a photographic memory, there's nothing to do for it but study your ass off.

    But for a business degree, I have no idea. I've never heard of the undergrad work being particularly grueling, but there's certain to be a portion of "it's not bad because I like it" at work there. But if you're starting more or less at the beginning (like I did), you will also have time to get in tune with what is expected of you, so you probably shouldn't have an issue with having enough time to figure out whether or not you can maintain a job and a full-time schedule.

    Personally, I just take out loans and forget having a job. Do I hate doing that? Yes. But it also frees me up to focus on my coursework, and I can live lean enough to pay off those debts in a fairly short time when I graduate. But I genuinely need that focus (not everybody does), and your classwork is likely to be less punishing than mine was just from a standpoint of sheer volume of insanely-detailed information. The big thing is whether or not the degree you are getting will get you a job with a salary that makes loans a worthwhile choice, which also depends largely on the cost of the university you are attending. By simple dumb luck, I happened to be near a cheap university with a top-notch biochem program; one of my brothers, however, had to take as much debt in a single year at his university as I will have done in four at my university.

    Going back in general is going to a bit tough, but you should be plenty suprised at how competently you'll be able to handle it now that you have both experience and motivation. If you're doing what you like, the concerns should fade away pretty quickly, to be replaced with a pretty solid feeling of self-satisfaction when you can see yourself getting closer to a money-earning degree credit by credit. I was plenty worried before I came back, but now I'm just pretty pumped about being so close to finishing, and the time goes faster than you think if you and your coursework are compatible.

  • schussschuss Registered User regular
    Note also for loans etc. that the average cost of a college degree over your lifetime is -$500k, in that you lose out on $500k+cost of school by not going to college.

    (note that this is averaged, so individual experiences may vary)

  • AnomeAnome Registered User regular
    Congratulations!

    I have had a bit of a different experience from those who have posted so I'll share mine for what it's worth.

    I went to university straight out of high school and dropped out a year and a half later at age 19. I went back to get a diploma at a community college starting when I was 25 and it went okay but I did notice that my study skills weren't much better than they had been the first time around - I only made it through because it was a music diploma focused heavily on practical skills rather than homework assignments. After that, I decided to finish a degree in music therapy because once I discovered that that was a choice, I knew it was my dream job. I did a year of psychology and other pre-requisites, got myself accepted to the program, and finished the first year this past April and, although I didn't fail anything, I did badly enough on homework completion in one of my classes (C- final grade when minimum grade for advancement without faculty review is B-) that I'm not moving ahead with the rest of my class and will need to apply to re-take that class next spring. I will not be allowed back into the program without showing evidence of significant change in the intervening months.

    I'm working my butt off on that change but if I was smart I would have made the changes before starting such an intensive program. I would recommend you take some time over the summer to really think about what held you back on your last attempt. If you can honestly tell yourself that you've changed enough and that your immaturity and whatever else is behind you, fantastic. Keep doing what you're doing. If there are still some lingering bad habits that you've been able to work around by having a job that doesn't involve a lot of paperwork and/or deadlines, notice them. Work on them. Replace them with better habits.

    You sound like you'll be just fine, but I thought I'd chime in with a less than stellar return-to-school experience. Time and experience don't necessarily cure the types of issues that lead to poor school performance but effort will. Good luck.

  • JeanJean Soon to be papa bear Gatineau, QuébecRegistered User regular
    My first semester is more than half done now (already!) and things are going very well. My average is 87% so far. Dealing with my classmates hasn't been a problem at all even tough many were utterly shocked when they found out I'm 30 (everyone tells me I look 25)

    I refused some shift at work because they were night shift that completely screwed my sleep schedule. My amount of shift has dimished severly since then, they don't like being told ''no'' by their employees. I'd like to make some extra money but if the cost is a screwed up sleep schedule and no concentration in class, it's not worth it! I accepted to do the night shift once and I was a complete zombie in class the next day. I swore to myself I'd never take a night shift again during school!

    "You won't destroy us, You won't destroy our democracy. We are a small but proud nation. No one can bomb us to silence. No one can scare us from being Norway. This evening and tonight, we'll take care of each other. That's what we do best when attacked'' - Jens Stoltenberg
    Inquisitor77EvigilantLilnoobsL Ron HowardCauldSmrtnik
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