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Going for a degree late in life

  1. Feb 12, 2005 #1
    Hi, for some time now I have been considering having a crack at a degree. At this stage I'm not entirely sure what type of degree. I would either choose physics for the sheer enjoyment of it, or comp sci and software engineering out of both interest and career prospects. The reason I don't think physics will lead to a career for me is basically because I don't think I'm smart enough, but it all depends on how well I do in the coming years.
    You see, I dropped out of college(UK college this is, so A-levels) mainly because of lack of commitment, confidence and well, I needed a full-time job. I've now been working for some 8 years in a job I despise and have no interest in progressing in. Through-out the eight years, my interest in both physics and computing hasn't wained and so I think it's about time I did something about it.
    The problem is, I have a long road ahead of me. I'll have to redo some GCSE at evening school for a year (english mainly, I aced science and math, but I may redo math for a refresher), and then I'll have to do another year or two at evening school for A-levels (obviously physics, maths, comp sci). Only then will I have both the money and qualifications to goto uni and do a degree.

    My question is, is it all really worth it, considering I will be approaching 35-40 by the time I'm done?
    I seriously doubt I'll be employable, as other potential employee's would be far younger and be a better investment than I would.
    I would, as I said, consider doing it just for fun. But as I'm on only a mediocre wage (propably low wage by most standards), doing a degree would leave me in a very bad situation as far as pension etc is concerned.

    It's funny, I've had eight years to think about this, but I'm still in two-minds about the whole thing :confused:
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 12, 2005 #2
    The way I look at it is like this:

    One day in the future (10 years, 20 years, whatever), you will wake up in the morning. You will feel much like you feel today, but you will have a few extra aches and pains. Where do you want to go to work that morning?

    Whatever your answer is, start preparing for that future today. Nothing is impossible. The bumps and roadblocks in the road are placed there as a rite of passage. If you persevere and make it through the path, I believe you WILL be employable because people like underdog stories. However, if you don't forge ahead and try your best, you will wake that one day in the future hating yourself for not going for it.
  4. Feb 14, 2005 #3


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    I finished my PhD at age 35. I am having trouble now keeping as active at my academic job as younger people. But I used to be a meat lugger. That would have been even harder to keep up with.

    One person is said to have observed, after being told they would be age XXX when they finished school: "well I'm going to be age XXX anyway; so its just a matter of whether I want to be XXX with a degree or without one."
  5. Feb 14, 2005 #4
    That is the exact thing I told myself when I wondered whether I was "too old" to go back to school.
  6. Feb 15, 2005 #5
    I say go for it. Personally, I'd try to finish my GCSEs and A-levels very quickly.
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