Going Back to School at 40 & 50 Years Old
Going Back to School at 40 & 50 Years Old was not an ideal thing to do. Let’s move back a bit, in time. I graduated high school and then went straight to our junior college here in town. At that school, I earned my associate’s of science. From there, I moved onto a 4 year college. At school, I was getting a degree in Pre-Veterinarian Medicine.
Incidentally, I fell in love and got married. In my junior year, I found out I was pregnant. That threw a bit of a wrench into my plans. My last semester of college was an internship was a hands on type of work. Typically, a student will come back with, at least, ear mites. It is what it is, so we made the hard decision for me to not finish up while I was pregnant.
I had 3 kids and decided at the ripe old age of 32, I would finish my bachelor’s degree. My professor was still there and he was a rockstar for me. I did my thesis on the microbial habits of cattle and I nailed it. Honestly, I had been out of school from 23-32, so that was a pretty good thing to accomplish. My kids were able to watch me walk the aisle and get my degree.
It was hard. I cried a lot because I had all the responsibilities of home, homeschooling my kids, a busy 3 yr old, and trying to get my degree. Yet, I did it. We all did it. Now, I knew that I would not be going back to work because my job was in the home. I wanted to continue to homeschool my kids.
Over Time, I Wasn’t Finished
Fast forward 8 more years and I was 40 years old with 6 children. I was still homeschooling the kids and we had just adopted our 6th child. That was a huge adjustment. It wasn’t the amount of kids, it was just acclimating him to America, which was not easy.
I decided that homemaking, homeschooling, adopting, and raising 6 kids wasn’t enough. In my opinion, it was a good time to follow my dream of being a therapist. This is what I had always wanted to do, but chose to go down a path that was encouraged by my dad. Don’t get me wrong, I loved the pre-vet field and I was good at it. It just was not my passion.
So, I decided to go back to school. In true fashion, my goal was to get my master’s in a year. I knew that if I gave myself breathing room, I wouldn’t finish it up. It was awful. I had forgotten all the things and everything was now online, which was new to me.
Writing Papers, Taking Tests, Crying
Overuse of commas was a common issue for me during my excessive paper writing. The tests were timed and watching that clock tick down caused me such anxiety. I remember my kids, all standing outside with their noses pressed to the door, watching me sweat over a test. They were the best little cheerleaders but that year was traumatic on so many levels. I did it with a GPA of a 3.97, I believe.
I did it and I did it well. From that point, I decided to take another year off because at the time, I still couldn’t work. My kids were still homeschooled and we were struggling with some things that needed my undivided attention. I would “counsel” people but not for money. I began looking into being a Life Coach. On and off I would look into that but honestly, I just didn’t have time. I was spread too thin and couldn’t add one more thing to my plate.
Fast Forward Again
At the ripe old age of 42, I accidentally adopted our 7th child. He was 21 mths old when he came to live with us. That was in November and in the following January, I got a job. It was for my practicum for my licensure. I loved it because I was able to still do all that I was doing and work my hours around my kids and their education.
In June of that year (2017), my baby child got sick. My life stopped and everything was put on hold. I had to quit my job because my sole focus was on keeping him alive, maintaining my home, educating my children, and I was taking care of my best friend after her stroke. There just wasn’t enough time in the day. I assumed my time spent working would count towards my practicum, but alas, she was WAY unethical and none of that time counted.
Hitting 50 and Starting Over
In August of 2022, I applied for a job as a therapist and got hired. I was able to get a supervisor and all was ready for me to work. Upon filling out my paperwork for my associate’s license, it was discovered that my master’s was not enough and I had to go back to school and take another 15 hrs above my master’s. I was devastated. We didn’t have the money, I didn’t want to do it, and there is just no way I could remember anything from 10 years ago. Throwing in the towel was the only option for me.
My supervisor stayed on me and would text/call almost weekly to see what my status was and when I would start school. I explained that that wasn’t what I was going to do. However, he explained that was what I was going to do and to just do it. So. I did it.
His words of wisdom were “you are a perfectionist so do not strive for perfection, strive for passing.” He explained I better not show up with my transcript and have a 4.0. Lots of serious tears, anger, fear, and many phone calls to my sweet supervisor later and I did it…again. I remember calling him and telling him I was done. He sweetly asked what my GPA was and I said “well, I didn’t mean to but…I did get a 4.0.” He laughed.
Getting a Job
I had the degree and a supervisor next up was getting a job. However, that is a post for another day. Oh, and I wouldn’t be opposed to getting my doctorate. Maybe I will consider that when I am 60.