Random Thoughts from TasT
I was finally ready!
Published on October 25, 2004 By TasT In Misc

My parents would have sent me straight out of high school.  I had the grades and could have gotten the scholarships.  But I didn't think that I was ready.  So I joined the US Navy.  I know that they were all proud of me but, I could feel that they though I squandered by chance at an education.  I served in the navy for 6 years most of which as a Cryogenics Tech.  When I got out of the Navy I secured a job with a company that pays well and has tuition reimbursement. So I thought I should try college. I enrolled at a local state run tech school with the intent of getting my associates of arts.  I did OK but I only lasted 2 semesters.  A couple of years later I decided to try again, this time I enrolled in a local university.  I only stuck it out 1 semester this time.  I then decided that college just wasn't for me.  The classrooms that had 100+ people in them and being treated like I was 18 all over again just wasn't for me.  And what did it matter anyway I had one of the highest paying jobs in the area and most of those people who had a degree were only bringing home a fraction of what I was.  That piece of paper was just that a piece of meaningless paper.

    Then in the Late summer of '02 I realized that even though I didn't need that degree, I wanted it.  I wanted to prove to me and only me that I could do it.  It was the only thing that I had tried in life that I hadn't succeeded at and it was starting to bug me.  This time though I went to several colleges and tried to find one that fit my learning style.  After touring and talking to several schools in the area I decided on one that was designed for the adult student and had evening classes that met only one a week.  This seemed perfect and after the first semester it was.  However near the end on the second semester I realized that even with the tuition assistance that I couldn't afford to continue my schooling there.  Each semester was costing near $2000 for 6 credit hours and my limit for assistance was $5250 a year.

     I went in search again and found a branch of Columbia College in a  town close by.  This was even better. The tuition was substantially cheaper and  they ran 8 week semesters.  Going to so many Navy schools had taught me to learn fast and I got bored with 12-16 week semesters.

    Other nice things about going to a adult oriented college is that the professors and administrators respect that you an adult and realize that life happens.  For instance if a cell phone vibrates ( notice I didn't say rings that is a no no) it's ok to step out of class and take the call.  Most assignment due dates are negotiable to some extent.  The best thing is the way the professors run the classes. Unlike the state run schools I went to where you sit and they lecture, Most of the "lecture" time is more of a professor led discussion.  I guess they can do more of this with a max of only 25 people in their classes.

    I guess that I should give some kudos to Columbia's admin staff also, they have treated me like a person from the first time I talked to them.  Unlike most schools who treat you like dirt and expect you to go to their school because they are the biggest or cheapest game in town.

    I have been in school year round now for 2 years and I am currently 6 credits away from my first associates degree and over half way to my Bachelors in Business. That may take a while though, I'm considering double majoring with psychology.  Any how I'm 2 years in and I am still maintaining a 4.0.  I'm sure that something will mess that up along the way but for now I'm pretty proud of it!

    Right now I'm enjoying school so much that I am making plans to go on to grad school when I finish my bachelors.  I want to do this so that in the future I can teach part time in one of the local colleges to hopefully give some of what I learn to them.  Another idea that I had was that when I retire, being a professor would be the perfect job for the cooler months and would give me extra money all summer to travel!

    The point that I'd like to leave you with it that college should be done on your terms if it isn't it won't mean anything to you and you won't learn much while your there even if you do have decent grades and that It doesn't matter how old you are you can go to school, I had a lady in one of my history classes that is in her late 50's.

on Oct 25, 2004
Good article. Nothing really for me to say, just that this is the kind of thing that's good to read.
on Oct 25, 2004
Thanks for your Comment Philomedy

I wrote it to get some stuff out but, also to give ecouragement to anyone, who is older than normal freshman college age, to maybe give it a try.....
on Oct 30, 2004
A great article. I am in similar circumstances as I enrolled in University at age 31. I also was accepted straight out of school but declined at that time. Now I am ready Good to see I am not alone
on Oct 30, 2004
Good to see I am not alone

Trust me, you are not alone at the campus that I attend the average age is probably closer to 30 than 20, with quite a few older than me!
on Nov 01, 2004
I know what you mean by the need to be treated like an adult. As a WWII vet, I was thankful for the college policy that there would be no Frosh hazing for vets, nor having to take phys ed.
on Nov 01, 2004

I have a very similar tale.  Army for 6 years right out of High School, and then I got out and entered the conventional workforce.  1 year later I was back in the military (in the Air Force this time) and still only had 6 credit hours of schooling under my belt.  The beautiful thing about the AF is that they make it incredibly easy to attend college while on active duty.  There are 4 or 5 schools that have satellite campuses at our education center on base.   

I've been doing this whole college thing for about 2.5 years now, and I'm finally almost done with my bachelor's degree.  I'll graduate in December of this year, just 3 weeks shy of my 30th birthday.    so that makes us two pees in a pod.  

I have silly pipe dreams about being a professor in my twilight years, so I'm gonna have to get at least a Master's degree... If things work out right, I can get the Air Force to pay for that tuition too! 

on Nov 01, 2004
I'll graduate in December of this year, just 3 weeks shy of my 30th birthday.

That is awesome!

no Frosh hazing for vets, nor having to take phys ed.

Works simular for us, no phys ed and it's more the "old" folks hazing the youngin' (we outnumber them) instead of the frosh getting hazed by the senoirs. I heard an 18 year old freshman claim that he was getting hazed by seniors, Though he ment senior cetizens. Mark was picking on him and even though he's only 36 he's grey and bald. So he appears to be in his 50's or so...