Who here as gone back to college and changed careers as an adult?

  • Timbales

    Posts: 13993

    Mar 30, 2010 1:14 PM GMT
    I just turned 40 and it's made me think about what I want to do with the next 30 years. Anyone else been in a similar situation?
  • MercuryMax

    Posts: 713

    Mar 30, 2010 1:20 PM GMT
    um yea, but I just got out of the military and want to start school and dont even know where to begin its really overwhelming for me for some reason...


    here's my forum on it...
    http://www.realjock.com/gayforums/891019
  • Bunjamon

    Posts: 3161

    Mar 30, 2010 1:45 PM GMT
    I don't, but my mom did. She went to pharmacy school at 40, has been working as a pharmacist ever since, and has never been happier!
  • Mikeylikesit

    Posts: 1021

    Mar 30, 2010 1:52 PM GMT
    Ugh yah....Im 43 and back in school for my 3rd degree....icon_evil.gif
    Now it nursing...LOL
    icon_lol.gificon_eek.gif
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    Mar 30, 2010 2:13 PM GMT
    Timberoo saidI just turned 40 and it's made me think about what I want to do with the next 30 years. Anyone else been in a similar situation?

    Somewhat, and in a way that may be relevant for you. At 50 I decided my Army retirement money wasn't enough as my 2 kids were getting older (they lived with their mother), so I got a job with a university.

    At first I was doing Enrollment Services (aka recruitment), specializing in older, "non-traditional" students like you'd be, who were transferring from other programs, or resuming their college work after many years, or who had never attended college.

    In less than a year I became the Assistant Registrar, my primary duties once again being with older transfer students, plus responsibility for all transcripts, both transfer and current, and for certifying degree completions. In both positions I counseled students just like yourself, especially before I joined the Registrar's office, when I had close to 200 non-traditional advisees.

    The biggest fear among older students was that they'd be at an academic disadvantage compared to younger "traditional" students just out of high school in the undergraduate program, or even in the graduate program, many students still relatively young, having just completed their undergraduate. Every day I'd hear "I'm older now, don't have as sharp a mind, and I haven't opened a book in years. Those kids are all bright and fresh, I'm afraid I'll look foolish in class."

    And I'd assure them the exact opposite was true, and I had the computer analysis of our own students on campus to prove it, that I did myself, and the reports of studies done all over the US, that older college students actually have better academic performance than younger traditional ones. Here's why, and why you would, too:

    - you are infinitely more self-disciplined than a young person, and success in college in all about self-disciplne. A high-schooler follows an assigned schedule, is always under direction. In college you aren't herded from class to class, you're not under direction, you are in fact on your own. And so many fall flat on their faces. And actually that continues right into graduate school, even gets worse, for those who haven't ever been in the "real world" of strict schedules for which you alone are responsible, and must follow performance goals or lose your job.

    - you have the ability to look beyond what a text book says, to what it means. In college, most good professors are concerned about the meaning, not the memorization that is the basis for high school learning. One can always look up factual references, especially now in this Age of Google, but do you UNDERSTAND what you're reading, its significance? That is what separates college from high school, and graduate studies even more. The more mature student will see this difference naturally, while the younger has to struggle.

    - you have other Life Skills a younger student cannot possibly have, and they have useful advantages in the classroom. You'll be able to "read" your professors just as easily as you read your course books, and discern what his or her focus and style is. The younger student tries to read and memorize a whole text book, a nearly impossible task. The mature student audits course material, sensing what the professor thinks is essential, and anticipating the kinds of questions likely to be asked on exams. And so the older student focuses on that alone, avoiding wasted time & energy, and producing better results.

    Epilogue: my epilepsy and other neurological problems were again my undoing, and I couldn't hold that position for long. Then I thought I might try teaching high school, but myself had to return to college for a certificate. Despite having umpteen degrees and having taught college, high school requires a state certificate with mandatory course work. Well, I practiced what I just preached above, and got all A's, and taught a little HS before that also became impossible due to my health.

    But I might recommend high school teaching for you, especially of juniors & seniors, which I did. They're practically adults, beginning to become focused on goals and college, lots easier to motivate and relate to than kids, at least for me. Good luck to you.
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    Mar 30, 2010 2:23 PM GMT
    wow, vespa, thanks for that post.

    the only thing i can add is that i think now more than ever before, multiple careers are becoming the norm. my dad worked one job and then retired from it 30 years later. all of his friends did the same. quitting your job and :gasp: going back to school was absolutely unheard of in the post-WWII generation.

    you got a decent job and you stayed there. for. ev. er.

    i do music, and while i have done music most of my working life, i have changed "courses" several times. to my dad's generation, this seems irresponsible, undisciplined, and to them, will bite you in the ass. if you don't stick to that one thing, your next thing could really suck. stick with what you know, make your money, then retire. (if you live that long)

    now, there is just too much out there to be had, and the idea of "staying with one job" is almost laughable given the current economy. now, more than ever, you gotta find what you like doing, and do it till you don't like it any more. then explore something else.

    retirement is now. my dad dreamed of retiring and then doing whatever he wanted to do. i'm doing that now. and it keeps changing.

    so a) you're never too old, b) do what you like doing, c) never be afraid of change.
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    Mar 30, 2010 3:13 PM GMT
    rangard said...the only thing i can add is that i think now more than ever before, multiple careers are becoming the norm. my dad worked one job and then retired from it 30 years later. all of his friends did the same. quitting your job and :gasp: going back to school was absolutely unheard of in the post-WWII generation.

    First, thanks for the compliment. But while I don't disagree with the picture you paint, there were exceptions, including myself, and I'll explain how that happened. I hate to take credit for something I didn't really do myself.

    Example 1: My mother. Born into comfortable circumstances, the Great Depression destroyed her family. She spent all her teens years (1930-1936) during the Depression, losing her youth to terrible poverty.

    Yet by 1939, the Depression still not over, as a 22-year-old woman when even men still couldn't find work, she had managed to buy a house for her parents & younger brother to live in, and get them out of run-down rentals. And in those post-WWII '50s of which you speak, when I was still a kid, she went to college that she had missed in the '30s, and became a tax attorney.

    So that during that Donna Reed era of 1950s stay-at-home Moms, my own mother was powerful & influential, holding elective office and equal to any man around her (and in case you wonder because of common beliefs regarding gay men and their home lives, my father was no less than she, both my parents remarkable overachievers).

    As for having many jobs, the US Army taught me to do many things in sink-or-swim circumstances. The Army may have been my single career for 25 years, but within it I had many careers of sorts.

    Example 2: One day in 1982 the entire civilian staff of the Military Police Journal magazine quit over a pay dispute. Not having that monthly 60-page professional journal go out to 30,000 readers around the world, including foreign law enforcement agencies, was not an option, a potential embarrassment for the US. At the time I was a staff officer at the MP School where it was published.

    "Captain XXXX, you have some kind of degree in media, don't you?"

    "Yes, sir, I do, in Broadcasting."

    "Close enough. You're now the Editor of the Military Police Journal. You have 10 days to get the next issue to our contract printer in Georgia. Let me know what resources you need."

    What resources I need??? I don't know what the fuck I'm doing at all, much less what resources to do it with. And I can give you a dozen similar examples during my military career. (And BTW, I accomplished my mission, and in fact revised the entire look of the magazine, which I'd never liked. I later learned the entire staff had assumed I would fail, and were astonished I had pulled it off. Got a commendation for it, too. icon_biggrin.gif )

    So when I hear about trauma concerning career changes, on the one hand I can feel sympathy, but on the other I also want to say "Get over it! Life's a challenge, so welcome challenges. Life is never a steady state. Thrive or perish."
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    Mar 30, 2010 3:14 PM GMT
    I'm getting my CPT cert. and in the fall I'm going back to school for a degree in software programming. I say go for it Timberoo, if it's what you want to do. My dad didn't get his JD until he was 50 (after retiring from the Army).
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    Mar 31, 2010 12:27 AM GMT
    I think I read somewhere that most people change their career at least twice in their lifetime. And change jobs at least a dozen times. So you're not alone.

    If you want to change careers, then do it now. Otherwise, you'll be asking this same question later when you turn 45, 50, 60, etc.
  • creature

    Posts: 5197

    Mar 31, 2010 1:13 AM GMT
    I'm back in school and looking forward to changing my career.

    I went back to school to major in Accounting. Although I was good in my classes, I changed my major to Forensic Science as I couldn't myself as an accountant.

    But instead of another bachelor's, I decided to just get a minor in it (only requires 5 courses) because I don't need another degree to work as a crime scene investigator or as an officer. My Criminal Justice degree is good enough. The minor will just compliment it.

    But now I see that UMUC is going to start offering Cybersecurity as a major this fall, with an opportunity to get a bacehlor's and a master's in it. So after my service in the navy, I'll major in that. Hopefully it's something I can use for the police department or a federal agency position.
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    Mar 31, 2010 1:16 AM GMT
    Back in school for architecture after a long affair with art.
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    Mar 31, 2010 1:29 AM GMT
    I went back to school at age 42 for my JD. Graduated in 1999. Now I'd like to get my teacher's certificate and teach Latin.
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    Mar 31, 2010 1:33 AM GMT
    started my third degree at age 46. finished my studies and started my third (and final!) career as a physician assistant at age 49. graduated 2nd in my class of 60. never too late! Good to know the brain still works!

    DO IT.
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    Mar 31, 2010 1:33 AM GMT
    Well I'm only 26, but I went back for a Master's degree last fall. The problem was that I already felt like I could be the boss of everyone else in the program, and instead of "working" in the group projects, with my experience I could just tell people what to do and then assemble the final product. They all thought I was making the biggest contribution at that! It was a waste of time, so I dropped out. However, it also wasn't leading me towards a preferred career. I still don't know what that would be exactly.
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    Mar 31, 2010 1:39 AM GMT
    My second degree @43, also nursing.
    My 4th or 5th career—I’ve lost track.

    DO IT!
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    Mar 31, 2010 6:38 AM GMT
    Funny... I have been thinking about changing my career. I'm not to far from 40, about 4 years away. Thinking of going back to school, and like another reply I heard that most people do change their career twice in their life time.
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    Mar 31, 2010 8:25 AM GMT
    Went from engineering lab tech to commercial pilot between the ages of 31-33.
  • Gannon

    Posts: 23

    Mar 31, 2010 8:46 AM GMT
    Yes I did 6 years ago it was the best thing I ever did and was well worth it, I went from an Electrician to Web designer icon_biggrin.gif