I must admit I feel a bit of conviction when I am in class with people who are 5-6 years younger than I am, majority of the people I graduated HS with are done or finishing this year, when people ask how much longer I have I give a blank stare as though they asked me for my social security number, it's a silly insecurity I know but an insecurity nonetheless *sigh*
I feel that way too some times as I am 30+ and just now working towards finishing college. I am not single, but I know what you are feeling as I had my son young and college just didn't work at that point. I try to always remember that it doesn't matter what age I am. If I am working towards a goal and bettering myself, I doesn't matter what other people think at all. And by the way, way to go on going back to college! You should be proud of yourself and hold your head high. Those students 5-6 years younger than you with no cares in the world have no idea how hard it is to juggle it all and you should be proud that you are doing it!!
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I'm thirty and returned this year to finish a degree I had intended to complete by my 24th birthday. I took many years off and do feel frustrated. My own personal understanding of my intended field has just mushroomed since I left, but I'm still dealing with work that I didn't feel like doing at 19....well, I REALLY don't feel like doing it at 30! For example, a first-year course I'm taking wants me to write a really easy paper...like mega-easy...but I find that I've become a pseudo-elitist brat, and I don't really want to attach my name to something that is that easy. The instructor called it an 'essay' but then explained that it's just an informative paper. I'm like 'What?! Why would I want to write a five-page book report?' So now it's overdue because I'm being a turd. I wouldn't say I'm soaring academically, per se, my personal issues have compounded since I was a free-spirited 20 year old and school eternally feels like a distraction from my family. Sometimes I really don't know why I'm there.
There is good. I have at least somewhat clarified my intentions for college, and I changed majors. I had almost completed a degree that, if I had it now, I'd probably be rather frustrated by it's limitations. Now I'm in a field that is more broad and that will springboard me into a masters program.
I find that once I start opening my mouth in class, I have no problems making friends with all the cool people in their 20s, because I'm an interesting and funny person. But if I were to sit quietly in the corner, I could probably be easily overlooked as 'that boring old fat lady'. I identify with the professors more easily than most of my classmates, but that gap is closing as I take more upper-level classes with more people close to graduation.
Overall, I do alright. I'm not exactly single, but I was a single mom in college when my first was an infant. I enjoyed it, b/c I had a low-need kid and everyone wanted to hold the baby, from family to classmates to strangers. Now my kids are big and can't fit in a sling. I advise college with infants as way easier than college with 5 year olds.
Probably, a fair amount of younger students would love to revere your wisdom and experience. Befriend them, you are all good for each other.
Yes, but I went to a community college, something many working or older people choose. My college's average student age was 28, though I actually had a 72 year old in one of my classes. She said she was the oldest person in the school. She never graduated from high school since she dropped out to have a baby at 14, but now that she has great grandchildren who were surpassing her she thought she should go back for her GED and finish a two-year college degree just to be an example to her family. :)
Many people in community colleges are looking for a career change, they often aren't just kids out of high school. Community colleges are more likely than traditional universities to offer night, weekend, and alternative format classes to accomodate working people's schedules.
I'm not a single mom, but am an 'older' mom who is in college (I'm 31). At my community college there is a nice blend of age-groups. I had a lady in one class who was in her late 50's, and then I had a guy in my CNA course last semester who was born in 1993. Sitting next to a 17 yr old did make me feel a bit old, but whatever. I transfer to the university this fall and hopefully I will fit in just fine; in fact, I'm pretty sure I will because the school is known for having more non-traditional students than other colleges, and by the time I make it to grad school, I'll likely be surrounded with others close to my age b/c those programs tend to include career-changers or those going back to school for yet another degree.
I'm not a single mom but I'm a 31 year old college student/mom. I quit school when I was 22 and returned at 30. I go to a traditional campus so yeah it's kind of odd to be so much older than the majority of the population. But, I have found a small group of non-traditional mom students in my classes and it's been fine. I also get along just fine with the majority of the young kids, they like me and are friendly. There are a few that are snooty but whatever. You just have to have the mindset that you are doing this to improve your life and be a good example to your children (at least that's how I look at it.) Yeah I wish I hadn't quit when I did because my field is saturated now and budget cuts aren't helping. But, in that time I got to live in other states and start/finish my family and just grow up. I'm a better student now than I ever was then.
Not single either but older (31) and just started back to school this year. Right now I'm at our community college and like the others said, there is definitely a good blend of people, I went in thinking I'd feel like an old lady amongst a bunch of kids but in reality, most of the other students are in a similar situation.
Full Time Student & Mommy to 3 princesses! 9/03, 2/07 & 2/07
I've been out of high school for 10 years, and am just now graduating from the community college with my associates. I went to college out of high school and ended up dropping out. I didn't decide to go back until a couple years ago, and I'm so glad that I did. I will be transferring to a university next semester for a degree in Anthropology, and although I know its going to take me longer than 2 more years with my three kids, it will be worth it. I am always the oldest, or next to oldest in my class, and I'm only 28. I'm sure it will be even worse at the university. I do feel weird sitting in class with kids that are just out of high school, but it's not that big of a deal.
I'm headed back to school to the community college this summer to complete prerequisites for a Masters program at the local University and I'm 32. I'll be taking some pretty standard intro classes and A&P. I have a BA but I'm headed in a completely different direction than my undergrad. I wish I had had a more direct route to what I want to do but honestly when I graduated with my BA I don't think I had a clear idea of what I wanted to do......nor the money that it did or DIDN'T pay. I know a lot of people who went back to school to change careers. My dh went back to school at 40 to get his teaching certificate and a friend of mine went into a post bacc nursing program at 28 years old. I would imagine once your in your program and done with prerequisites you may encounter a wider range of people.
I find that people assume I am whatever age they are. So when 20 year olds talk to me, they think I'm 20ish. When 40 year olds talk to me they think I'm 40ish. I'm 29, btw. I think it's normal for people to assume I am however old they are. I had a few shocked expressions when I mention I have kids! lol
That said, I think when people talk about how much more you have left, it's not a way to compete, but more of a guaging where you are at. If you are further than they are, they will most likely ask for tips (best teachers to take, how certain classes are, etc). If you are behind them, it's seen as normal for you to ask them about certain classes/teachers, etc. It's definitely not a 'wow, you are so old, you must be close to done' type of thing.
I've gone to schools where being older was the exception and schools were being older was the norm. In neither place was anyone 'looking down' on those older. Shoot, I had a few much older (late 40s to mid 50s) classmates who already had a successful career under their belt and wanted to switch. I don't think there is any assumption of older students being 'slackers' at all. If anything, having an older student in class was a signal to study harder, since they do better from the get go.
Wife to dh, Mommy to my heavenly angel, J (06), and my earthly angels, S (07) and E (10)