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im 37 and about to enter college again...whats the oldest someone has started back and what was the most difficult part of attending college courses for you?

ive been in the medical field but most recent position was in manufacturing. #unsurewhattodo

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Agustin’s Answer

Hi! Here it is my "Career Advice Plan" I would have loved someone told me when I was younger. I hope you find it useful :)

1) Be patience and persistent.
Discovering your purpose is a long process of self-knowledge. What kept your interest in the past it is clearly not working for you at 37.

2) It is about you
Many times we make decisions based on what others say, or what we are supposed to do, as a way to maintain affection and acceptance from others. It is quite frequent to seek to please others and to want them to be interested in us. That is why, so many times it happens to us to accommodate to the tastes of others and hide the authentic and genuine of our personality.
When it comes to career choice, the same can also happen. Some attach great importance to what their family or friends want and choose accordingly. It is almost expected that we seek support of others when deciding, but we cannot lose sight that what we are choosing is the course of our life. Therefore, I recommend that the way you decide is based on your motivations and personal characteristics. It's about choosing what makes you happy. Ask yourself that question: will this make me happy or I am trying to make others happy?

3) Self-Knowledge - Getting to know you
Each person has characteristics that make them unique and unrepeatable. Tastes, abilities, personality, life history, even fears, vary from person to person; they differentiate and characterize each of us. Likewise, the vocation or the "call" to be in the world is unique.
That is why it is necessary that you ask yourself about your personal characteristics, about your way of being, about the characteristics that differentiate you. Knowing yourself and understanding yourself better is essential to choose the career for you.
You can write on a paper..... What do you like doing everyday? What skills do you have? What activities do you excel at? Each profession solves different types of problems... What type of problems would you like to solve?
You can start asking yourself these questions and also work with a psychologist specialized in vocational guidance.

4) Experiment and discover new activities.
The important thing is DOING new stuff, in order to verify if you like it or not. Nobody could have known if they liked riding a bicicle until they ride it. You can also compliment reading books, surfing YouTube, watching Ted Talks (ted.com) and taking courses. Also, you can try volunteering in jobs or activities. Experimenting new activities will help you understand if you like them or not, what are your skills and your real interests.

5) Discover you Vocation (it is not about the career or job, they are just a tool)
My advice is that you should find your vocation. After that, you can choose between several careers and jobs that adjust to it.
Your vocation is the combination of your interests, the things you like doing, the things you are good at and how you want to help other people.
We usually think about our talents and virtues, even our dreams, aspirations or desires for personal development. We turn to see ourselves, what we are and what we want, however we find our vocation when we discover what others need from us, when we speak of vocation we are speaking primarily of service, of giving and not necessarily giving what we are, but giving what others need from us.
Years ago I have been through this process of understanding what I want to do with my life, it took me some years to understand it and it is also okey not to have an exact answer.
It is not easy to come with a clear answer and it can be a stressful process, but don't discourage, be curious and start exploring! You have already taken the first step!

Best of luck!

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John’s Answer

Roxanne, Online learning is arguably the greatest revolution in contemporary education. Will there ever be a world without traditional education where everything is replaced by online courses?


Technology has changed the way classrooms work, not just at school, but right throughout the education system. So from nursery to university, students these days engage with online learning from day one. The idea of a “typical student” is also changing. With this comes a change in how these students prefer to learn. In particular, older students looking to obtain postgraduate qualifications want their education to be valuable and worthwhile. But it must also be flexible enough to fit in with their existing commitments and responsibilities. Universities are also in the market of preparing students for jobs that don’t even exist yet. Even after graduating from a first degree there is an increasing need and pressure on students to keep learning and adapting.


FLEXIBILITY – Online courses give you the opportunity to plan study time around the rest of your day, instead of the other way around. You can study and work at your convenience. For most students today, increasing college costs mandate that some students continue working while in school. The previously mentioned flexibility of online programs enable students to keep working while also pursuing academic credentials. Studying in a familiar environment can make it easier to concentrate and complete assignments. With online courses, the situation changes. You can decide when it is the best time to study. For instance, a working mother might struggle to find time to take a course in addition to her day job. With online courses, this situation is made possible because there is greater flexibility in when you chooses to spend your time studying.

LOWER COST – Online programs prove a more affordable option than traditional colleges. For example, there are no commuting costs, and sometimes required course materials, such as textbooks, are available online at no cost. Course material is always accessible online, making special library trips unnecessary. All of these benefits help students balance work and family commitments with their education.

CAREER ADVANCEMENT – You can take online courses and even complete entire degrees while working, while in-between jobs, or while taking time to raise a family. This academic work will explain any discontinuity or gaps in a resume as well. Also, earning a degree can show ambitiousness to prospective employers and a desire to remain informed and prepared for new challenges.

FAST FORWARD – Watch lectures at 1.5x speed and pause/rewind during sections you don’t understand. This is a huge benefit of online learning — you can actually pause and rewind on the spot to work things out on paper if you didn’t understand the material. Because you don’t get to ask questions, it’s important that you train yourself to fully understand one section before moving on.

Your instructor is still there to help you, though, even if you never meet him or her in person. Good Luck Roxanne

John recommends the following next steps:

Confirm the program’s accreditation – To ensure you’re getting a quality education, make sure the program you choose has the proper accreditation.
Check the degree requirements closely – Some programs promote “online degrees” where only the major-specific courses, not the general education courses, are offered online.
Ask about student support services – Make sure there’s someone at the university who can help you if you need it from answering questions about class registration or program requirements
Learn about technical support – Ask if there’s technical assistance available in case you have trouble accessing a course, posting homework
Find out about financial aid – The amount of financial aid available to students in online programs varies by school, so check to see what type of aid is available throughout your entire online degree program.

Thank You Alfredo. “Alone, we can do so little; together we can do so much.” – Helen Keller John Frick

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Kim’s Answer


I went back in my 50's, pursuing a Master's degree in Legal Studies. I think the most difficult part is getting your head on right! Quit worrying about the difficult parts! Think positive. There are so many ways to overcome obstacles now!

When I couldn't seem to understand the significance of certain court decisions, even after reading the textbook and going to lecture, I Googled them! There were some great discussions about these cases, and suddenly it all came together!

But, to answer your question. The things that had changed since I got my BA in 1983 . . . Back then, we looked up to the professors as "gods." We thirsted for knowledge, that "only" they possessed. Now, students can find what they want to know on the internet, and that relationship is not the same. There is also a lot more use of "adjunct" professors now. This is good in that they are current in the field, but bad in that they aren't as invested in the school. It also struck me, at least in my field, that students were there to obtain the credential, not the knowledge. In spite of being nationally accredited, the program had significant weaknesses. I did not complete it. (At my age, I really look at "What am I getting for my money?")

As to how I did? I was not able to retain the knowledge. It took me a lot more time with my studies than it had as a teen. I enjoyed meeting younger people, and hearing their perspectives on things, and, if asked, sharing mine.

Anyway, if you undertake this venture expecting to succeed, you WILL. You just need to be strongly determined to not let anything get in your way! Wishing you the best!

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Mr.’s Answer

Roxanne G,

My Aunt Nirva was in her early 50s (although she did not look a day over 44) when she decided to go to college to earn a degree. It was kind of difficult at first because her memory was not as sharp as it had been in her younger days but she kept at it. The schedule which even had a few Saturday courses during her semesters were kind of difficult being that she is a mother and as other active roles. She was used to a time where you could listen to tapes play over and over and now she had to get Kindle and other technological things she had never even heard or seen before. She majored in engineering and took many computer literacy courses. She was very shy when she had to read in front of her class because she felt her accent would throw certain words off or out of context. She wanted to give up several times thinking maybe it was too late maybe it had been a dream that was way too far off. After all the only jobs she had since she came to the USA were mainly factory jobs was she really ready for corporate city?
She received her degree in 2010 and has since worked from home for a big security firm handling their technical issues. It is never too late and life is a sea of obstacles and adversity so be confident and swim good. I wish you the best on your journey.

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Rachel’s Answer

You're going to need a lot of patience. I received my first college degree right after high school. I decided in my 30s to go back to school and I received two more degrees; including my Master's. Don't be afraid of any challenges. Take your time. I always say it does not matter how long it takes to finish your degree, as long as you finish at your own pace. Best wishes on your endeavors!

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Katie’s Answer

Wow! Well done to you for taking the leap.

I can only speak from my own experience taking on an MBA in my 30's after being out of school and in the workforce for a very long time.

1. I really struggled initially to find time around my full time job to study. I had it in my mind that I would only study after work on weekdays so I could have down time on the weekends. It really didn't work for me as naturally things come up at work during the week and you have to work later than anticipated to complete projects etc. I now know that Sundays I have to spend a few hours studying to keep up with the workload

2. I really found audio versions of my textbooks to be the best for multitasking where I needed to. For example, I would wake up early in the morning to do my housework while listening to the audio textbook. This gave me a bit more time to get through everything but I still obsorbed the learning as I was only doing mundane tasks while listening along.

3. Take a course before your college starts on "how to study" and how to reference properly, academic writing etc that the school expects. When you've not been in school for a long time these skills tend to dissapear and it's silly little things sometimes that make all the difference in your marks.

4. Don't be disheartened by lower grades, a pass is a pass. It's super tough to balance life and study and so celebrate your wins as you go even if you're not top of the class!

5. Do the work and don't get complacent. I had a subject that I slacked off a bit with because it was my field of work and I felt like I'd be able to "wing it" I came dangerously close to failing that subject....

Overall I have found the experience to be challenging but really rewarding. It's never too late to start and certainly at your age you've got plenty of opportunities in front of you!

Best of luck

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Melinda’s Answer

I finished my master's at age 30. One thing I don't see mentioned here is interaction with the "regular-aged" students. It may be a challenge to relate to the younger, less mature students. Depending on your personality and interests, you may or may not want to be involved in extracurricular activities, study groups, sports activities, etc along with those traditional aged students. I did participate in some activities, but felt a little out of place at times, being multiple years older than most of my classmates. Priorities can be very different for someone returning to school at a later age as compared with someone going off from home for the first time.

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Rachel’s Answer

You're going to need a lot of patience. I received my first college degree right after high school. I decided in my 30s to go back to school and I received two more degrees; including my Master's. Don't be afraid of any challenges. Take your time. I always say it does not matter how long it takes to finish your degree, as long as you finish at your own pace. Best wishes on your endeavors!

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Yasemin’s Answer

Hi Roxanne! Congratulations! Although I began college at 18, I had a classmate who was a mom of three and 35 years old in psych stats class. She was nervous too but very excited to continue her education because she had setbacks when she was younger. She was very disciplined and hardworking; I think in general the most hard part about college classes was just making sure you kept up with the work. Make sure you go to lectures, take good notes, read the textbooks and stay active. There are also tutoring services on campus, I actually tutored an adult student who was in his early 40s taking psych stats! Just keep focused and study hard, and don't worry you are never too late to achieve your goals!

Best of luck!

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Sean’s Answer

I'm in my 40's and am back in school for a second master's degree. This time around I found it very helpful to interview schools to ensure they are willing and able to meet your specific needs, particularly if you are looking into online schools. Things like deferred payments if you have tuition reimbursement to asking about group projects (I didn't want to go to a school where they were mandatory). Take your time and find the right school for you.

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Teri’s Answer

I received my Associates in my 30's, my BA in my early 40's and am attending college now (late 40's) for my masters. It's never to late to invest in yourself.

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Gloria’s Answer

I started college classes at 18. I didn't earn my Bachelor's Degree until I was 35. The last push to get my final college credits was at the age of 33. The biggest challenge of college at this age is the life that you already have. You have to find or make the time to get the college work done around having a job as well as possibly having a family. College is like having another job, depending on the amount of credits that you are taking at once. You have to be passionate about your major, because there will be times when you wonder why you did this. I went full time in the final push for my degree, which meant figuring out how to have a life and work around school. I did not have children to take care of. Going full time meant that I had to give up the social life. I was very driven to finish school, because not having a diploma had kept me from continuing my career during a downturn in the economy. In college, you have about the equivalent of reading a book a week and related papers and assignments to go with it. It's a lot to add to your life. Consider how much time you want to spend each week in school. You don't have to go full time. Others in this thread mentioned going to school online. I had some classes online and found them valuable, once I got used to the format.

Overall, I found that having already entered the workforce was a relative advantage for me. My classmates were more than a decade younger than me and sometimes trying to figure out college for the first time. At my age, I had already learned time management techniques, how to prioritize my work, and was able to use some of my experiences to complete homework assignments. I had a friend who graduated around the same age from University of Phoenix with a business degree. He used his real world job for many of his assignments. Some of his assignments actually helped him get a promotion at work. Depending on your major, you may be applying every class to the job that you do. I actually continued immediately into a Masters program after my Bachelor's degree and actually used my assignments to do my job as well. It can be a powerful way to do two things at once.

I am so excited that you have opted to return to college in your 30's. The world is changing so fast that learning needs to be a way of life for all of us who are in the workplace. I can tell you, getting each diploma gave me a power of my career choices that I would not have had otherwise. I wish you the best of luck in your college journey.

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Wendy’s Answer

Roxanne, first and foremost - congratulations! Be excited that you're taking on this fabulous challenge. That's the toughest step. It took me 12 years to get my BA back in the 70s-80s because I was working full time and going to school at night. In my 40s, I achieved my Master's degree online (accredited college) while a single mom of two energetic and athletic sons and working full time. At 62, I achieved my doctorate in Organizational Change & Leadership through the University of Southern California (USC). As others have mentioned, I found I had to be much, much more deliberate in my study habits as I got older. Cramming didn't work well as a teen; it's impossible as a grown up. I split up each week's assignments into segments and set daily appointments with myself to ensure I completed each one on time. (sometimes that meant loss of sleep!). For me, writing (yes, with a pen) notes helped me outline my learning and strengthened my recall. Of course, my own health and that of my family have always been priority #1 but close behind was the priority of my educational goals. When faced with calendar conflicts, I constantly asked myself "is this worth falling behind in this class?" For me it meant missing a happy hour now and then but never a family birthday party. It meant giving up a favorite TV show but never a celebratory meal with my sons. Each right decision resulted in my tears of joy as my kids cheered me on when I walked at each graduation - especially the doctoral hooding ceremony--the culmination of a 50-year goal. Yes, it means sacrifice but most things of value do. Go get it, Roxanne. Just keep your eye on the prize at all times!