Henry Ford, said, “Anyone who stops learning is old, whether at twenty or eighty. Anyone who keeps learning stays young.” For years, I thought I was just too old to return to school. However, for 20 years, I’ve worked in a career that provided great financial stability, but it never brought happiness. When I was laid-off, I made the decision to not return to the corporate world; instead, I started my process of becoming a successful counselor and motivational speaker. Spending time with my family and doing what makes me happy are my overall goals in life. So here I am forty-one and enrolled in college. According to the National Center for Education Statistics the number of middle-aged people in college, graduate school or technical school is projected to rise to 4.1 million by 2015. I am proud to be a part of this statistic. I believe we can’t look back at what we should have done; we need to move forward and make the best out of what we can do now.
This past June, I attended DePaul University School for New Learning Commencement Ceremony. Tecora Rogers, a 59 year old Masters Graduate gave the graduating class commencement address. While, I wish I can share her entire speech, the following is what stuck with me most. “For years I have worked in a corporate environment and promoted the values of others. I am at a point in my life where it is important to me to promote my own values as they relate to my community.” I felt she was talking to me. For years I’ve worked in the Marketing/Advertising industry promoted and watched others advance, while I stayed in the same position. If, Tecora can go back to school in her 50’s, I can go back in my 40’s. Vickey Kalambakai the author of The Advantages of Being an Older Student says, being an older student we know exactly what we want. While, Tecora wants to promote her values as they relate to her community, I want to promote my own values and education to helping others get through life’s obstacles. Great advantages, brings amazing benefits to being an adult learner. The benefit to being an adult leaner is having over 20 years of real-life work and personal experience.
Why not, use the knowledge I have learned, and apply it to a college education. Haley Drucker author of “Going Back to College as an Adult: The Benefits” mentions, adults are more focused and understand the importance of an education. It’s important to me to gain all the knowledge I can to be a successful counselor. My focus comes from being able to spend quality time with my husband and children. We have to move away from doing things we are use too or what is safe, and do things we enjoy. The benefit of being an adult learner we tend to develop a more cohesive plan to achieve our goals. Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, French Author, said “A goal without a plan is just a wish.” I have developed a four step plan to achieve my goals: 1. Get over the notion I was too old to return to school, 2.
Find a job which would pay for my education, but still give me the flexibility to be at home, 3. Enroll in a school, which was affordable and can be controlled by my own pace and 4. Build a brand others will appreciate around the world. A great plan brings motivation and inspiration. As adult learners we must be motivated and inspired by other adult learners. I am inspired by my mother, Tecora Rogers the DePaul Graduate and motivated by my husband and three children to succeed. Regardless of my age, it’s important to me to benefit from this lifelong learning experience. Civil rights activist, Malcolm X, once said, “without education, you are not going anywhere in the world.” I have every intention of taking on the world.
Kalambakal, V (2008, January). The Advantages of Being an Older Student. Retrieved from http://www.back2college.com/advantage.htm Drucker, H (2012, May). Going Back to College as an Adult: The Benefits. Retrieved from http://www.brighthub.com/education/college/articles/72340.aspx Harper, N [Neal171]. (2014, June 14). Tecora Rogers DePaul University Graduation Speech, [Video file]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8N3BKpS99LA