Going back to school..need advice for older students please
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  1. #1

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    Default Going back to school..need advice for older students please

    Hi there,

    I just received my official letter accepting me to college in the Fall. My major is Information Management & Library Technology. I'm excited and scared at the same time.

    I know that the average age range for school has risen but I'm in my early 40's and I'm nervous at being the oldest one there. Please nervous about handling the house and school and possibly a parttime job.

    My dh will help out as much as possible. He can help clean but is hopeless at cooking so that will be 100% my dept.

    So ladies..or Gents. How did/do you manage school, family and a job at the same time.

    TIA

  2. #2
    Registered User forHISglory's Avatar
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    Congratulations!
    There are bound to be some bumps in the road but the journey is well worth it.

    Key to staying sane is be super organized. Draw up charts of what your family is to do around the house. Keep a big calendar and EVERY event goes on it. Make it clear that if it isn't on the calendar, it doesn't happen. You need to be able to plan ahead and the family needs to become responsible. Try to organize things around the house to allow easy cleaning, easy laundry, easy meals. Make time to exercise every day. And that's a good time to review for tests. If you go walking, take along your index cards and go over terms, etc. Also find time now and then for something that relaxes you: hot bath, massage, nap.

    Lower some of your expectations. Determine where your priority is. If it is getting your education, then let some of your notions of what a clean house or a well balanced meal slip a little. More than likely, no one will be harmed!

    On the class work, keep things color coded. Use the same color notebook, flash cards etc. for each subject. See if you can tape the lectures and then transcribe them at home. Take notes in class and then blend your class notes, your taped notes, and your book notes. Carry your note cards with you everywhere. If there's a traffic snarl, a long line at the check out, a delay in the doctor's office.... whip out your cards. Mark every due date on the calendar and then work backwards. For example, if a paper is due June 30, then go back and mark when you want to have your final draft proofread, your rough draft finished, your outline done, your research completed. Set up those mini-deadlines to keep you on target. Ask your professor what kinds of things you should concentrate on. Should you memorize dates? Names? Events? Concepts? Ideas? Battles? Ask your prof the best way to study for his/her class. I am a professor, and I love when my students ask me this. It shows me that this is a caring and careful student.

    So get organized. Also learn to write. I have found that many returning students cannot organize their thoughts to make well constructed sentences and paragraphs. Inquire as to whether your school offers any tutoring or refresher courses in writing. It's a cinch that you will be writing in almost every course, and when you can learn to do this well, it will save you time and frustration. Learn to put together a well written thesis or topic sentence. It will keep you on track and not let you wander off base in your writing.

    Organize. Write. And now.... enjoy!
    Last edited by forHISglory; 06-03-2008 at 06:27 PM. Reason: left out thought
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    Registered User Dancing Lotus's Avatar
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    I don't think I can top that great advice but as the wife of an older student I can tell you your families support will a tremendous help.

    There are times when my dh is studying late at night and I just want to go up to him and slam his book shut. But I don't , I just stand back and watch him. MY eyes swell with pride, and I try to remember that I might be giving up some snuggle time with him but what he is doing is worth that at least. Even just talking about it makes me feel incredibly proud of him.

    Let your family help you, let them take over the house work and learn to cook simple meals that the hubby can learn too. Also cook in double batches. If you roast a chicken , roast two so you have one for tomorrow. And don't worry you won't be the oldest. My hubby always talks about the older guy in the class. We even met our best friends at school. Dh needed a study partner and introduced himself to the other married guy in the room. Turned out not only was the the same age but had two kids in the same age as ours and they even have the same Major.

    I wish you lots of luck. Congrats

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    Registered User lisettelovebug's Avatar
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    I take classes at the local community college and there are always people older than me. If you're going to a community college or similar you will be with plenty of other people who are not fresh out of high school.

    I'm sure you will do fine handling everything. I don't work, but I have 2 little ones and an older child. At times it can be difficult to get things done. My advice is to start assignments as soon as possible, that way if something comes up you're not busting your butt to get it done last minute. I had mini-deadlines last semester, especially at the end of the semester. I wrote a list of what I wanted done when and worked towards that. I also did a lot of work after the kids went to bed, lol.

    I'm not as organized as some people w/ school work - never have been. But I do use my calendar on my computer to remind of important dates. I also used a larger journal-type calendar (Walmart has one that is thinner and the size of a regular notebook that I really liked) to write down assignments and anything else important for classes - I use the type with the month calendar on 2 pages and then on the nezt 2 pages it will have the next 7 days with plenty of space for writing. Also, I have found that sometimes I take too many notes at the beginning, of stuff that is not needed for tests, etc. Read syllabii (sp?) really well and you may find clues in there about what you really need to know thoroughly and what's a waste of time. Be prepared after the first exam to tweak your note taking. Sometimes there are review questions at the end of the chapters that profs like to pull from and you may find other profs who don't use the books very much at all.

    As far as housework, do what you can to keep up. Delegate jobs. As far as cooking, how about cookinh up a lot of freezer friendly meals that can be made in bulk ahead of time and then just unthawed/cooked when you're superbusy. You could do up a bunch right before classes begin, and then restock once a month when you have a free day (like during break week)

    If I think of anything else later I will add it,

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    YOU will be ok! I went to nursing school at the ages of 40 & 41. Life experience is a blessing!! You will be so much more advanced because you have lived! Find a study buddy, exchange phone numbers, and make a plan to call each other in the time of need. You will be fine. I'm SO very proud of you!!

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    Registered User Megareader's Avatar
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    I went back to college when I was 46, got my degree just after I turned 50. I preferred the night classes because the students generally were older than the daytime students.

    As for managing the home, I got a lot of help from my dh. Without him pitching in it would have been really difficult to keep up on both housework and school work.

    I congratulate you on going back to school. You can do it!!

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    Moderator Ceashels's Avatar
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    Congratulations!!!

    At our community colleges seniors have a great discount so at the age of 40 I was NOT the oldest, even when I went during my 20's there were seniors in most all of my classes.

    Those who have already posted had great ideas that I too have used. The one thing that did help me was using small post it notes to use as page markers (I labeled with the topic and used in my texts and in the syllabus that the professors went by).

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    When I went back to school, there were many students older than I. One fella was a retired psychiatrist in his 60's getting a Masters in piano performance just for the heck of it.

    One of my teachers commented that he loved the older students because they just do the work without complaining. You'll enjoy it, and I doubt you'll be alone in your age group.

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    Unix Ninja Gabe's Avatar
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    Congrats!

    Spouse support is critical. (thank you Sara!)
    I managed to work full time & go to school full time. I completed my 4 year degree in 3 years and graduated magna cum laude in May 2008. I am not organized.

    -I "clep" out of several classes that I felt comfortable with. This saved me around $13,500 in course and book fees. Look with the college if they will take Clep evaluation. (do a google search for CLEP)

    They typically runs $65-70 per exam. Clepping allowed me to shave a year on the time to complete my degree. I got over 60 credits taking these tests. (mostly electives and junior year classes)

    If you have some experience or expertise in some subject it might be good to check into this. Or if you feel comfortable testing. Several websites offer services with sample examination for these tests.

    I found the tests pretty easy after prepping for them.
    -around 3 hours per exam.

    The beauty of it is that these exams each earn you between 3 to 12 credits per exam. Here in the USA cost of each class can be expensive.

    My classes were $900 each for 4 credit + books $75-$200)


  11. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gabe View Post
    Congrats!

    Spouse support is critical. (thank you Sara!)
    I managed to work full time & go to school full time. I completed my 4 year degree in 3 years and graduated magna cum laude in May 2008. I am not organized.

    -I "clep" out of several classes that I felt comfortable with. This saved me around $13,500 in course and book fees. Look with the college if they will take Clep evaluation. (do a google search for CLEP)

    They typically runs $65-70 per exam. Clepping allowed me to shave a year on the time to complete my degree. I got over 60 credits taking these tests. (mostly electives and junior year classes)

    If you have some experience or expertise in some subject it might be good to check into this. Or if you feel comfortable testing. Several websites offer services with sample examination for these tests.

    I found the tests pretty easy after prepping for them.
    -around 3 hours per exam.

    The beauty of it is that these exams each earn you between 3 to 12 credits per exam. Here in the USA cost of each class can be expensive.

    My classes were $900 each for 4 credit + books $75-$200)

    Thanks for the information. I know what CLEP is but I'm not sure if they have it in Canada. All my course are directly program related and I think I only have one elective requirement so luckily I dont have to take any unneccessary courses.

    I had forgotten to add that one of the main reasons I'm doing this is because my tuition and books will be completely funded through our Employment (EI) Insurance. So no loans,fingers crossed, and easy peasy on expenses.

    I am very grateful that my dh has a fairly good job and I should'nt have any problems finding a parttime job since you can turn around nowadays in Alberta and not get hired. I guess I'm mostly worried about that horror word "organized" as I'm not terribly organized at all. I try but everything ends up haphazzard.

    thanks again

  12. #11

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    Thanks everyone for the congrats and tips. I'm earmarking this thread for future reference. Now onto the summer of planning and stocking up just in case

  13. #12
    Registered User i.m.cheap's Avatar
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    I started college last fall at the age of 45. I am older than most of my classmates, but that's OK. I have been getting good grades, by studying hard and doing all the assigned work. I am amazed at the number of younger students that blow off assignments, and show up for class only half the time. I figure their parents must be paying their tuition. You will do great!

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