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Going back to school at a later age?

  1. Sep 22, 2012 #1
    I've been thinking I want to go back to school to get a degree in a science field, I don't know if I will pursue physics or biology, they both seem so interesting. At first I was dead set against it, but then I asked earlier if you have to have a natural ability to do this, and someone answered and said it was passion and hard work, so that got me thinking maybe I could do it.

    The problem is I'm 33 and the only thing I have is a ged and some college from years ago. I dropped out when I had my daughter and ended up working the past 11 years. She's older now, and I work nights, so while she's in school I wanted to start taking classes. My q's are am I too old? I know it's going to take years, and by the time I'm done I will be in my 40's. Will I still be able to get a job at that age? Am I just setting myself up for failure? I brought this up to one of my friends and she said you're going to be in your 40's anyways might as well just go for it, but I'd like to hear from people that actually went through it.
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 23, 2012 #2


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    Hello Yayfordoritos, welcome to PF! :smile:

    1- Getting education should not be coupled with age.

    2- Sounds like you have the passion, you just need to start the hard work! :biggrin:

    3- It will pay off either way. :wink:
  4. Sep 23, 2012 #3
    Hi! I can empathise a little. I was in my thirties when I went back to university to start a physics degree, and it was one of the best things I have ever done. However I didn't really undertake it for the job prospects but for the fun of doing it, and from that perspective I haven't been dissapointed. I'm not sure what your job prospects are going to be like locally but I can't really see a degree making them worse. The work too has been pretty hard for a full-time course and aiming for good marks. Are you thinking about starting with one or two classes to see how you get on?
  5. Sep 23, 2012 #4
    Of course you're not too old. One is never too old to further one's education. Even if you didn't have a career in mind, I would tell you to pursue further education for it's own sake; go as far as you can, provided it doesn't cripple you financially. My father is considering going back to earn a Ph.D in his retirement just for the sake of it (he started struggling financially after he received his MA, so he left school).
  6. Sep 23, 2012 #5
    one of my past teachers brought in a 79 year old to speak to us a little bit. He was attending community college and transferring to UBC for engineering. He said he has always admired engineers and all his life he wanted to pursue his dream and once he realized he only has one shot he went for it. of course he is retired so he has a lot of time on his hands. but still, its inspiring to see someone with such determination and motivation.

    my view in life is very simple. if you don't like something, change it. if you want something, go for it. at the end of the day its about what makes you happy.
  7. Sep 23, 2012 #6

    Thanks! Nice to meet you.
  8. Sep 23, 2012 #7

    I'm not sure how many classes I want to take. I only work 3 days a week Friday, Saturday, and Sunday 12 hour shifts. So I have basically Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday to take classes. I would like to at least take 3 at a time.
  9. Sep 24, 2012 #8
    That sounds like a good plan. Are you up to speed with your maths and things? Before starting the course I tried to revise my maths from first principles to make sure I didn't 'carry errors forward' from anything I had mislearned previously. It seemed to help with the transition back into education again, partly through improving my maths but also by helping me relearn how to learn, if that makes any sense!
  10. Sep 25, 2012 #9
    I've just been going over just basic arithmetic. I will probably take an algebra class at the community college, just to make sure I learn it the correct way. My daughter and her friends are actually the one's that have helped me out the most with arithmetic. They've been pretty helpful in re-teaching me how to multiply and divide and add and subtract fractions, and converting decimals to fractions and vice versa. I'll probably just start at the bottom of the math hierarchy and just work up from there.
  11. Sep 25, 2012 #10
    Getting education should not be coupled with obtaining a training in fields of physics or biology. Education is a life long process of exploring (reading history, philosophy, literature, mathematics, etc). It is not something you can "get."

    To the original poster: What do you care that a bunch of people on an online message board think? If you like the subject(s), just do them. Read them, breathe them, take classes. Your friend is right - you will be 40 regardless. What you do in next 7 years is totally up to you.
  12. Sep 25, 2012 #11
    I'm 28 and only in my second year of College... Working towards a Mechanical Engineering degree... (IMHO best degree to get for any hopes of a lucrative career and going to school for math/physics lol) Education starts at birth and ends at death. How you gain that education can be through school, studying on your own, researching on your own, in that time period.
    You should feel proud to decide to go back to school at a later age, rather then shy.
    The world is VERY small now... and the world is changing VERY quickly. You will find people in your classes looking for a career change at the ages of 50-60+.
    Also it is a benefit to be older. I apologize in advance for any younger students in here... I don't mean to generalize... but "kids", don't understand how AMAZING education is. So they take it for granted. In High School I was more interested in comics and video games.. I got out of HS did a few months of college, and thought "I"m smarter than this... if this is college I"m wasting my time". Now I know EXACTLY how important it is.. and my life is 100% dedicated to achieving my goals (to the point that I was almost brought to tears over being upset about a "B" on a test recently lol)... Kudos to you man... and it sounds like you're on the right track in life... Getting an education, and understanding the importance of Doritos??? I'm not sure there is anything else you need in life.
  13. Sep 28, 2012 #12
    Just wanted to say thanks for all your advice. I went down on Tuesday and took the accuplacer test, actually did a lot better on the math part than I thought I was, and registered for two classes, a Math class and an English class. I didn't tell the advisor that I wanted to study physics or biology, I figured I'd wait on that til I got further along. I'm at work right now so if I don't get back tonight I'll check in tomorrow or on Monday.
  14. Sep 28, 2012 #13

    Lol, I don't know what I would do without Doritos. I started eating them when I gave up smoking 3 years ago, and ever since then I've been a Doritos addict. Cool ranch is my favorite!
  15. Sep 29, 2012 #14
    Woo-hoo! Hurray for acing the test. Perhaps it will be the first of many.

    Good luck and I hope you really enjoy learning again!
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