Posted by: Cindy Downes | August 3, 2007

Why College at 57?

I’ve been asked numerous times “Why are you going back to college at your age?” so I decided to answer that question. Actually, there are a variety of reason. Here are a few of them:

I’ve always felt like I left something undone and now I’m going to finish what I started. During my growing up years, my dad always complained that he never got his high school diploma. Although he was extremely intelligent, it always bothered him. I kept telling him to quit complaining about it and go get one, but he never did. So when I heard myself doing the same thing about my college degree, I decided I needed to listen to my own words!

I’ve always loved learning. When I was in college, though, I was too excited to be away from home to appreciate my studies. Now that I am back in school, I am enjoying the challenge of learning new things. Even though I am a published writer, I see this as a chance to learn more about my craft and expand my area of influence in writing.

Although I’ve been learning throughout my life and am very educated, I’ve discerned a lack of respect by some of my peers for what I do because I don’t have a college degree. A college degree has become like a high school diploma. “If you don’t have one, you must not be very smart and you certainly won’t be a success.” I know that is not true, as I know many successful people without college degrees. Just as I know unsuccessful people WITH college degrees. However, this is a chance to remedy that situation for me.

Another reason is that my daughter, who is a lot like me, only a bit smarter, also quit college. Although she took college more seriously and made excellent grades, she decided to deviate from her original plan. Therefore, she lost her scholarship money and was never able to go back. I asked her if she wanted to go back with me. She did; so I am paying her way, too, until she gets her scholarship back. Going back to college at the same time at the same school makes quite an adventure because we’re both very competitive! It’s also given us something new to talk to each other about so our relationship is improving, too. That’s a wonderful side benefit.

Finally, and most important, here is a reason I didn’t understand until after I started. I believe God has placed me in these classrooms as a witness for the Lord Jesus Christ. There are a lot of hurting people in these classrooms. If anyone is looking for comfort and answers to life’s questions, I may be in the right place at the right time for them. I am to be God’s light in this world. And right now, for me, this world is Tulsa Community College and OSU-Tulsa.

Those are a few of my reasons to go back to college. I could probably think of a dozen more. The bottom line is that I am in the time of life when I have the time, the money, and the interest to pursue my unfinished, college degree. And with God by my side, helping me along, I am looking forward to the task.

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