Would You Go Back to School?

Discussion in 'Education & Learning' started by Mal Campbell, Jan 25, 2015.

  1. Mal Campbell

    Mal Campbell Well-Known Member
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    I have to say that I never finished college. Luckily I was in a field, at a time, when a college education wasn't necessary, and experience was what got you a great job. I'm now retired so a college education still isn't a necessity for me. But .... I would love to go back to school. Now that I've gotten older, I found that there are so many things I don't know - and so many things I'd like to learn about. I don't think I'd want to really work on a particular degree - I'd just like to take classes that appeal to me - history, biology, botany, geology, psychology, philosophy. I think it would be fun to be a student - to look at things through a different lens, so to speak.

    Alas, college has gotten to be so expensive, that I can't afford it. Here in Tennessee, they actually have programs through local community colleges where tuition is greatly reduced, like $70 a class, but they don't offer any classes that really interest me.

    If given the chance, would you go back to school, and if so, what would you study?
     
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  2. Richard Lee

    Richard Lee Member
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    I have been thinking about this a lot recently. I am an expat living in Thailand, and I home school my kids (second family). They are teenagers now, and this year we are moving back to the UK, where they will go on to college then Uni. I have an MSc, but would like to go back to college and study just for the joy of it. I think I would opt for the sciences or maths (if my brain is still up for calculus!) - or perhaps something like computer art (though that may be hard to get as I guess younger students would grab most of the spaces). Henry Ford famously said, "Anyone who stops learning is old, whether at twenty or eighty. Anyone who keeps learning stays young. The greatest thing in life is to keep your mind young."


    //EDIT: You have the opportunity for online - there are free courses offered by the top universities in the world - for free. You will not get a degree, but a certificate saying you passed. Have a look here: https://www.coursera.org/
     
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  3. Michelle Stevens

    Michelle Stevens Active Member
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    Over the last few years I've become passionate about growing bonsai trees and I'd love to know a bit about botany, but I can't see myself ever getting involved with formal education again. I sailed through school without putting in too much effort, but didn't enjoy my time at university as I hated putting in hours with the books and now my attention span has become so poor that I rarely even finish the books I start reading. I blame that on excessive time spent reading online.

    I have a friend who went back to university in her forties though, and she ended up making a complete career change. I really admire anyone who has the determination to do that.
     
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  4. Joss Brown

    Joss Brown New Member
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    I was considering going to graduate school. I wanted to become a genetic counselor and the only path to that job is to graduate from a board certified program, internship and passing the board exam. I decided not to pursue it.

    I was worried about my taking the GRE (Graduate Record Exam), getting transcripts and reference letters. There are only about 12 to 15 approved programs in the United States. I also was very worried about my age. I have no doubts about being able to do the work. I don't know if I want to go back to school with 20 year students.
     
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  5. Harrison Greenberg

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    I would definitely go back to study, but the costs of the courses here in Australia are way too overpriced! The courses go all the way to nearing $8,000 a year. I am very interesting in the fields of philosophy and astronomy. I never got around to learning any of those back when I was younger because I was solely focused on maths.
     
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  6. Von Jones

    Von Jones Very Well-Known Member
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    If I were to go back to school I would like to take studies in photography. It has always been a past time for me but I believe I can capture some pretty nice shots. I really would like to know all of the technical processes of developing film. When we moved into our house there is an actual darkroom, well it's painted all black, when I saw it I thought 'Hmm, this would make a great dark room.' Aside from that I've had enough of formal education.
     
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  7. Pat Baker

    Pat Baker Well-Known Member
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    I would not mind going back to school but not so much for a college degree but to learn some trades that interest me. I would love to learn how to make my own table or some type of useful house hold item. Women who can use power tools to me are amazing, being able to make something or repair something around the house not only would save money when some thing breaks down but allows you to have your own style created by you.
     
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  8. Yvonne Smith

    Yvonne Smith Very Well-Known Member
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    I hated school when I was growing up. I studied and did well in school; but was glad when each school day was over and I could go home, change into my jeans (had to wear a dress to school back then) and go ride my horse.
    Summertime was wonderful because school was out, and I could ride almost every day.
    Even though I didn't plan on it; I ended up meeting my husband-to-be and getting married in my senior year; so I didn't even get to finish high school.
    I think that it didn't really affect me as far as getting a job. Except for commissioned jobs, like Combined Insurance, most of the jobs that i did have were low-paying ones, but they met my needs at the time.
    Apple has an online university that is part of iTunes; but I really am not interested in that, and enjoy just looking up things that I want to learn about and reading about them on my own.
     
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  9. Val Carey

    Val Carey Member
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    I feel that I go to school every day. I've learned more about what interests me from the internet in the last few years than I ever did at school.

    Hated school. I couldn't wait to get out and packed all my things and took them with me to the last exam. Finished it, tossed the papers on the desk, walked out and never saw that school again for 10 years when I'd bought a new car and did a 'triumphal drive-through' of my past.
    I enjoyed learning, just not what they were teaching.

    I had no prospect of going beyond high school due to being somewhat numerically dyslexic. If you weren't good at maths you were written off as stupid and ignored. I consistently turned out 90+% exam results in everything except maths. But that simply didn't count with the teachers.
    They deemed me dumb and that was it. So I left at barely 15, went to work. and then one day I had an 'educational epiphany'.

    It didn't matter that I would never make a career in the things I was passionate about because other people who could add up and subtract would go to Universities and spend their entire lives studying and researching those subjects for me. How kind of them.

    They would publish their results and all I needed to do was keep an eye on scientific mags etc and there would be the latest finds, the results, the pictures and the answers to all things fascinating.

    All regrets of academic deficiencies, and the burden of low self esteem (as it was later termed) fell from my shoulders and I saw the funny side of it all.
    I could keep up with astronomy, paleontology, archeology, and aaalllll the ologies I could ever take an interest about in my lunch break!

    I began to feel guilty about all those nice kids who went through the hell of a University education and the long long years in labs and at blackboards juggling incomprehensible number combinations. Especially as by that time I was earning more than they were.

    So don't get me wrong. I'm really, really grateful that they went to school for me. Thank you nerds. really, genuinely thanks.
    And thank you Tim Lee for putting the internet into my life. It really is the Ultimate University of Everything. Who needs the aggro of a formal education? :rolleyes::D
     
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  10. Harrison Greenberg

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    I really envy you Val. I really hated school myself, and I too, couldn't wait to get out of it. By the time I got out, within a few months of my hard earned vacation, I learned more when I went hiking with my friends out in the wilderness than I learned the stuff at school. Sure some of the subjects I really like, but some of the teachers when I was in high school did not know how to teach what so ever.
     
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  11. Ruth Belena

    Ruth Belena Active Member
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    I graduated more than 30 years after I had finished my formal education at high school. I went straight into a job when I was 18, but in my 40s I started an Open University course, studying part time at home. I now have a degree in humanities.

    I enjoyed being a mature student and getting to know others of my own age and older who were just as ethusiastic as I was about learning this way. It gave me a lot more confidence and I developed new skills from doing research, being more analytical and writing assignments

    Actually, I have never stopped learning or studying. All my life I've read a lot, taken evening classes, been on residential courses and attended public lectures.
     
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  12. Ken Anderson

    Ken Anderson Veteran Member
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    I would have always loved to have been able to attend school for the sake of learning but I graduated from high school at a time when only the top of the class got scholarships, and there weren't such things as Pell grants. I did well in school but I wasn't at the top of the class, as far as qualifying for a scholarship and my dad didn't have the money to send me to college. I worked a year to pay for a year of school, but then I moved to California where I could find a good job without a degree.

    Later, I attended Bible college, but was offered a part-time job as youth minister before I graduated so I took it, but kept my regular job, which didn't leave time for school. Still later, I want back to school to become a paramedic and, later, a paramedic instructor and coordinator. I was the program chairman of a state college EMT program without having a degree myself. In between, I took several courses from several colleges, but never with an organized effort toward earning a degree.
     
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  13. Kevin Matthew

    Kevin Matthew Member
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    I've been thinking about going back to school to get a PhD to change careers, but if I started now, I wouldn't have my PhD until I was 65 years old. I hate to say it, but I think I'm too old to spend all that time and money at this point in my life. If it was free, I might do it, but spending tens of thousands of dollars per year that I don't have sort of seals the deal unfortunately.
     
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  14. Jorge Ruiz

    Jorge Ruiz Member
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    Hey all.

    I'm ambivalent on the question. Like others here, I did not get into university right out of high school (money issues, of course), had to go right to work. Then, in my 20s decided to go to the local state university and study that which had been my passion since 8th grade: theatre.

    I had not intentions of getting a degree (what good is a degree in theatre, after all?), just wanted to become better at something that I enjoyed doing. My tutor was always after me to do the core curriculum and get my degree and I always came back with "look, I'm here to study theatre, don't wan't maths, not interested in science, it's my money, haven't got that much anyway, going to spend it on the classes that are meaningful to me"-- "but what will you do without a degree?" he asked. He was well-meaning, but was a tenured professor (well-known as well, nearly famous, for his expertise in World Theatre History) and didn't think outside the box of university.

    So, I did two and a half years of university, picking and choosing the classes I would take, most within the graduate program even though I hadn't gotten the BA (they allowed me in part because I was well known in the community, in part because within one semester I had gotten on the Dean's list and a full scholarship through a talent grant). They even offered me a full-time job as stage manager for the university tour group if I would stay on and finish my studies. Life took me elsewhere, though.

    Now, I do an internet search of my classmates who did get their MFA in theatre (six long, boring years). One is working as an activity manager for a hotel chain. Another did manage to start his own school for stage fighting. I managed to get a fine job in the Broadway Costume Shop (mentioned in another thread). While I was working full-time in theatre, most of my classmates were waiting tables, waiting for their big break. None of them (myself included!) became famous.

    Looking back on those years in university, I wish I had known then what I know now, I think I would have taken better advantage of what the university experience offered. Would I go back now, though? No, can't see myself rubbing elbows with the youthful majority who have been fooled into thinking that their degree will actually end up supporting them. And, as others have mentioned, why go through the cost, the time investment, when you can now educate yourself (read: independent scholarship-- which indeed exists, has existed since the early 80s, though never really recognized by academia) while sitting on your sofa?

    So, I guess the short answer is no, I would not go back. But will I stop learning? Never! ha.

    peace,
    revel.
     
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  15. Mal Campbell

    Mal Campbell Well-Known Member
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    Jorge, you make such a valid point. When we were young, you didn't need a college degree to get a good job in your field. It might help, but wasn't necessary for most careers paths. You got started, and learned everything you could and was promoted based on your merit. I feel sorry for this generation though. Somehow a college degree has become a necessity in this modern job market. So, you go to college, rack up enormous debit and still can't find a job in your field, or if you do, you start at the bottom, just like we used to do back in the 70s and 80s, except we didn't have college loans hanging over our heads.
     
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  16. Jorge Ruiz

    Jorge Ruiz Member
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    Hey all.

    I agree, Mal. I took out a small student loan before I earned that scholarship (only about 2000 bucks) on the advice of my stepfather. Stupidest thing I ever did. Years later, probably through the darn IRS, the student loan people found me and started the harassing phone calls. I usually asked each person who called me asking me for the now nearly 10thou $ (wow, did that interest accumulate!) if they had a student loan, and you know what? Most of those poor blokes were working off their overdue student loans by working the call boards to harass others who had not paid back the student loans when the jobs didn't appear once the mortar board was thrown into the air.

    I also observed people I respected in history who got to the heights without having had a university degree and asked myself again and again why it was (and we're only talking the 1980s now!) that people couldn't make friends, influence people and even get rich without having gone through the process of getting a BA (which basically was how any state university supported itself, making students take a variety of classes they were not going to need, with the excuse of having a well-rounded education while actually keeping departments economically alive), then grad-school then the PhD or the Doctorate or the MFA or whatever. Who really needs six years of university to not work as an actor or director? How did I manage to get work in Broadway theatre without having that piece of paper?

    Don't get me wrong, university is a fine idea, it should just be better managed, should even be free, there's nothing more important than investing in the education of the youth, we'll all need dentists and doctors when we're older people, when the dentists and doctors that currently practice decide to retire. We can spend sooooo much money on "defense" but we can't foot the bill for kids, young adults, even "seniors" like ourselves with a desire to improve ourselves through education? The hoops that must be jumped through are all too often made of extended hands trying to get money (though the professors themselves may have a vocation, but where else are they going to share their knowledge-- people want a certificate that says they've accumulated that knowledge, so it's not enough to simply tutor people in their homes to satisfy their intellectual needs).

    I, myself, would get education out of the system, out of the institution, would put it back into the hands of experience and hard work and an honest desire to share and learn. But I'm always dreaming like that.

    peace,
    revel.
     
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  17. Ken Anderson

    Ken Anderson Veteran Member
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    Colleges and universities are far more expensive than they need to be, especially give the fact that so many people are barely able to live long enough to repay their student loans, or to find work in their field of study. Some of t his, of course, is the fault of the student who decides to major in library science of women's studies, knowing that the opportunities are limited. I wouldn't mind going back to get a degree, just to have one, but there's no way to justify the expense.
     
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  18. Jenn Windey

    Jenn Windey Active Member
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    I had the opportunity to go back to school and I took it. One of the jobs I worked for back in the dot com era offered stock options with the employment. You received so many each anniversary. About 7 years in the company decided they wanted to move to North Carolina, I did not so I cashed in my options and went back to school . I don't regret it and it was hard because I went to school full time and raised a child as a single parent. Whether the degree helped me or not is a different story, my earnings seem to have flat lined for awhile.

    If I was able I would return and take more classes. I have that option as an alumni, I can sit in on any course I want as long as I have the approval of the professor. There are so many things that I would love to learn more about. If I want my masters though I have to enroll and at this point I see no value in that sort of investment career wise.
     
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  19. Priscilla King

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    In Virginia, after you're 55, it's all free. I sometimes use the Internet at a community college where the computer center is across the hall from the art class; drawing and painting would be fun. Also in that part of the building is the CGNA recertification class; when I got CMT certification I was thinking "I'll never have to work as a CGNA again," but friends are getting older and insurance will pay for friends to sit with them if those friends are currently CGNA, so I might.

    Meanwhile I just enjoy telling the kids I'm not old enough to be a freshman yet. (I was a college freshman, the first time around, before most of their parents met!)
     
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  20. Priscilla King

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    You'd love the community college from which I sometimes post! There's an electrician's helper course going on right now, open to any age or gender as long as you can do the work; two years ago the newspaper wrote up one of my school friends (a fellow Future Homemaker of America) adding this valuable homemaking skill to her list. And even for young people, it's free. (I Twittered that I'd sign up if anybody in my neighborhood wanted a paying passenger. Nobody did.)
     
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  21. Juan Ortega

    Juan Ortega Member
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    I would most definitely go back to school. I recently have not due to my economic situation. I have found that without the right resources such attempts of going back to school are futile. With expenses like books or paid online courses, going back to school is more of a goal than a reality. Although in the future when money is not a problem, learning the many courses offered can be very profitable in terms of career or entrepreneur opportunities.
     
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  22. Richard Paradon

    Richard Paradon Well-Known Member
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    High School bored me pretty much and I was able to graduate with little study. I attempted college a number of times but wound up dropping all the classes except the ones that presented a challenge. I do study on my own, but have no intention of ever going back to formal education.
     
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  23. Betty Madison

    Betty Madison New Member
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    I live in a hyper-educated community, where virtually everyone over the age of 25 has advanced degrees. I moved here in my mid 20s with just a Bachelor's degree, got burnt out on working in the non-profit world, and would probably have gone to grad school if I'd had some idea what I wanted to study, and how to fund it without racking up enormous debt. Now I am 50, and have worked some very interesting jobs, but it seems like education is like travel, to me, when I have the money I don't have the time, and vice-versa. Since my late 30s I've known that if/when i can swing it, I'd like to go to massage school, or get a degree in counseling psychology. Not holding my breath. It it costs a lot just to live here, and I don't ever want to go back to being as poor as I was during my undergrad studies, 30 years ago.
     
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  24. Ina I. Wonder

    Ina I. Wonder Very Well-Known Member
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    I admire all of you. You all have such a way with words that I am envious, and I do enjoy reading all the posts as well, although I don't post often. Then there is my spelling.
    I was the only child of a Hardshell Baptiist minister who couldn't believe God gave him a girl child. He didn't believe in educated women, so I was only allowed to go to school from the age of seven to ten. The school district made him send me to school. I finished five grades in those three years.
    At seven I saw my first library, and I thought it must be heaven. After that day, I wanted to grow up to be an old maiden librarian.
    My father also believed the only existence for a women was married, and raising children. He arranged my first marriage to a man in his late 40's when I was 13, and i became a mother at 14. Someone was kind enough to explain to me that slavery had been over since 1865.
    I met someone else and had my secound child at 16.
    Although my husband worked, I too needed to work so we could raise our total of five children. I became a grandmother at 32, and all of the sudden I felt old.
    My wonderful husband asked what was the one thing I had always wanted, but never recieved. I knew immediately what it was. I had always wanted an education.
    At 35, after we both quit smoking, and he quit drinking, I was able to go to our local junior college. There I took all the academics I needed to qualify for entry into the University of Houston. I continued to work, and I never took less than three courses a semester. I went for 19 years. I loved every moment of it. I never took a degree. I felt like a degree was a stopping point. In my third year, i became Phi Theat Kappa, and before seven years had passed, I became student of the year nationally for two years running.
    I studied English, Mathmatics, Philosophy, Phycology, Science,Horticulture, Pottery & Kilns, Business, Accounting, and many other subjects.
    So, i guess it gets down to what do you expect to get out of an education, as to what it is worth.
    My husband just passed away last December 30th., and i would love to fill my emptiness with more on campus experiences. But, of course it is way out of my budget now.
    Although, I am looking for a way to do some advanced studies in art. I am a self taught portrait artist, and I have been selling them for the past 15 years, but I think it would be interesting to study art.
     
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  25. Michelle Stevens

    Michelle Stevens Active Member
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    @Ina I. D'Orazio - Your story is truly inspirational. I've always believed that the key to academic success isn't how clever one is but one's level of interest in what one is studying. If a person wants it badly enough, they will succeed. You've proved that it's true.
     
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