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Starting college late, do I have a chance?

  1. Sep 10, 2017 #1
    Hey guys and gals so I just turned twenty-two and I'm thinking about reenrolling in community college for physics to eventually transfer. I enrolled when I was 18 but I wasn't mature enough and lost track of my goals, leading up to having some unexpected health problems, I ended up just getting a job and decided it wasn't meant to be. But now I have a different outlook on life, I've always wanted to be a high school physics teacher or professor growing up, it was and has been a dream of mine and I'm thinking about giving it another shot. The question is, is it too late? I figure myself to practically be a old man already in terms of reenrolling in college and starting from the beginning, am I wrong or do I have to face the music?
     
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  3. Sep 10, 2017 #2

    symbolipoint

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    You are off by only four years. This is not really too late. Yes it is late, but not yet TOO late.

    When you start at the community college, spend an extra effort on Mathematics. Start in Algebra 1 if you need to. Work up from there.
     
  4. Sep 10, 2017 #3
    Sounds good, thanks for your advice friend, I'm going back starting December in the winter session. Glad to hear that I'm not too old haha.
     
  5. Sep 10, 2017 #4

    Choppy

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    Too late for what?

    I realize that when you're 22 you probably feel on the older end of the spectrum of people in university classes. But there seems to be this idea out there that students have to be finished their undergraduate degree by 22, go straight into graduate school, finish the PhD by 28 and if they wander off course they don't have a chance to be successful in academia, or elsewhere in life. This idea is garbage, and leads to a lot of unnecessary stress.

    In your specific case if you started and failed out, or did poorly, that is going to be a mark against you that you'll have to overcome. If you eventually want to go on to graduate school, they'll need to see all of your undergraduate transcripts. But in most cases a bad year, particularly one in the "distant" past, can be made up for.

    It's also important to look at the advantages that you have that result from being a few years older or more mature than the other students in your classes. For example, this time when you take classes, you won't also have to deal with being on your own for the first time. You'll know how to take better care of yourself. You'll have some more experience in navigating the system. As people mature, the post-secondary educational experience tends to be more about seeking a specific education, rather than a larger voyage of self-discovery and self-definition. It can also make it easier to relate to some of your professors.
     
  6. Sep 10, 2017 #5
    A bit of advice, make sure you know which universities you want to transfer to and check that the courses you take in community college will transfer to those schools. Do this before taking any classes and set up a plan for the next 1-2 years so you know what you need to take and how hard you need to work.

    There are some awful statistics on the number of students who start community college and end up with a bachelors, I think its around only 17%. Getting a detailed transfer plan together now will help you meet your goals.
     
  7. Sep 10, 2017 #6

    symbolipoint

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    Very important to understand is that the community colleges offer some important remedial courses, particularly Algebra 1, Algebra 2, and "college preparatory" Geometry, if needed. The universities likely do not offer these (although some might, but these are lower cost at the c.c. .) You may want or need to enroll in other lower level courses at a community college, too, before transferring to a university.
     
  8. Sep 10, 2017 #7
    My younger daughter graduated from high school when she was 17. She always did as well academically, but didn't have the faintest flicker of a clue about what to do with her life at that point. We insisted that she take some classes at a local junior college, and for the next five years, she took one random class a semester, worked as a bicycle mechanic and/or waitress, slept, and went out with her friends. When she reached 23, she walked in one day, and announced: "I've picked a major!" We looked at her and thought, who are you and what did you do with our daughter? She enrolled that fall as a physical therapy major, a career that made a lot of sense: she was athletic, good at math and science, and it was a career that helped people. Five years later, she graduated with her master's, and has now happily worked in that profession for ten years. No one can be expected to figure out what to do with their life as a teenager, even though they might think they have!
     
  9. Sep 10, 2017 #8
    I am just 23 years old starting my second semester. I am taking algebra 1
     
    Last edited: Sep 10, 2017
  10. Sep 10, 2017 #9
    Yeah when I was a teenager I knew what I wanted but was too immature to reach out and take it, I figure that to be the fault in my generation though, we get a bad rap for being a little on the lazy side compared to past generations.
     
  11. Sep 10, 2017 #10
    Thanks everybody for the advice!
     
  12. Sep 10, 2017 #11
    Sign up for ALEKS precalc and brush up on all those high school math skills that may be a bit rusty.

    You can do it, but physics without math is like law without reading.
     
  13. Sep 10, 2017 #12
    Thanks! Are those links in your post of you? Because if so that's cool haha
     
  14. Sep 10, 2017 #13

    symbolipoint

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    A good start for you or a good re-start.
     
  15. Sep 12, 2017 #14

    russ_watters

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    Lol, no. Consider that it is pretty common for people to enroll in college after a military enlistment of 3-4 years; you're exactly the age at which they get out. My situation was something like that, but a bit more complicated... You'll have to get used to the idea that people 4 years younger than you are a little bit more advanced than you at work, but after a few years that won't matter because your capabilities will become the decider of where you stand.

    More extreme; my mother decided in her 30s that she'd get bored being a do-little housewife as my sister and I got old enough to take care of ourselves, so she went to college and got an accounting degree at around age 50. After that she worked as a freelance accountant.
     
  16. Sep 13, 2017 #15

    Grinkle

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    These two are vastly different in terms of attainability and what the day-to-day is like when you are actually in the job.

    I would expect that becoming a high school physics teacher is within your reach, even without knowing anything about you.

    Just making a statement about statistics, becoming a tenured university physics professor is out of reach of the great majority of incoming college freshman physics majors - its a very small club, and very competitive.

    Whatever you decide to pursue, best of luck to you!
     
  17. Sep 13, 2017 #16

    CWatters

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    Too old? When I was a college there was a man studying law and he was in 40 something.
     
  18. Sep 14, 2017 #17
    OP,

    I was in a similar place as yourself, I started in a community college got lost in my own immaturity and went off to work. It's definitely not even CLOSE to being too late. I went back at the age of 25 and had similar fears of being the old man. Granted, in the freshman classes I was. But as I progressed through the physics degree I found the people in my junior level and senior level classes were around my age or older. I believe my graduating class had a few people older than myself, I graduated at 29, and a few more people right below me, 26/27 age range. Definitely pursue it!

    Last piece of advice which helped push me over the fence. I had discussed with my mother my fears of going back at age 25, she responded "you're going to be 29/30 eventually, do you want to be that age with a physics degree or without"

    I hope you go for it! Feel free to pm me.
     
  19. Sep 14, 2017 #18

    symbolipoint

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    "Older" students definitely have a maturity advantage AND an organizing advantage, maybe able to study a little better.
     
  20. Sep 14, 2017 #19

    DS2C

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    27 here. Not to say how mature I am, but theres absolutely a noticeable difference from older students to younger ones. Typically the professors like the older students better as theyre more respectful and mature. They dont give excuses and take responsibility for their grade and take pride in their work. If I would have been doing this when I was 18, Id be screwed.
    As previously stated, youre getting older no matter what you choose. Would you rather be 4 years older with a degree or without one?
     
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