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Soooo...anyone 30y.o. > go back to school?


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Joined: May 05, 2004
Posts: 32
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Posted May 06, 2004 at 9:20:32 PM
Subject: Soooo...anyone 30y.o. > go back to school?

I'm in my mid 30's. I've got two kids. I'm a sahm. It's great, I've got lots of leeway for being a flake and making mistakes, and generally thinking slowly. School was torture. I dropped out of community college (finally) in my 2nd year. Community college is such a depressing place. I worked for 11 years, quit when my oldest was 3 y.o. Life is bad enough for working moms who aren't bipolar and ld.

But I'm finally to the point where I want to go back to school, and it's for my own sake, not because Mom and Dad expected it of me. And I'd like to contribute to our income. Dh works very hard and I want him to to be able to retire without worrying too much. And I don't want to have just any "job". I want to contribute to society and, well, not do something boring!

So I think I want to be a LD teacher or councelor. I work in dd's 3ed grade class now and again, and it just kills me to see the occasional kid who is struggling so much to learn. And there's no one to intervene. The teacher simply does not have the time or know how and that's not her fault. So I want to intervene on behalf of kids like that.

BUT- I * am * so * scared * to go back to school. The local state university has an excellent special ed teacher program, but you first need to get your BA or BS in something, regular teaching I think. But that's just it. The university special ed dept web site doesn't specify if the degree needs to be in teaching or not. I know, I can just ask. BUT MY WHOLE LIFE, this is what is has been like. I just don't pick up on these little bits of information that the rest of the population automatically knows. Somehow, you're supposed to know what the procedure is or what this phrase means. And my habit, when presented with this situation, is to nod my head like I understand what's going on, because I'm embarassed because I should have known it already or, I'll just figure it out later.

It has been wonderful not being employed. I've put this time to good use, figuring out what my major hurdles are (ld and bipolar). I usually only have to contend with my husband, who is very forgiving of my foibles. But my youngest is going into Kindergarten next year. I'll have time to take a couple of undergrad classes. And eventually I'll be at the point where I should commit to the University classes.

Does anyone have a similar experience: being out of the loop for a long time then getting back into it? What's it like?

And it took me 45 minutes to compose this stupid post!!

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Sue
Joined Jun 14, 2003
Posts: 1845

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Posted:May 07, 2004 5:59:15 PM

Not I -- but I'm the "academic support specialist" here and help lots of folks who have. In my experience, *usually* the folks who don't try to pretend they are Doing Fine, Don't Need Help are the ones who do a lot better (sometimes it takes a semester of putting a *lot* of energy into the covering-up-your-problems act, whether it's missing some skills in math or english or being anxious or not *really* understanding expectations or... then as a last resort, they come for help and realize that starting with a little help from jump street would have been a lot better.) I had about 8 Ladies Of A Certain Age (28-53) who were their own support system. THe ones who came in late still managed to pass the Dreadful Math Class (though it took some of 'em two times through it )
YOU GO GIRL :) :) :) :) :)

Sue J, webmastress www.resourceroom.net

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hesterprynne
Joined May 05, 2004
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Posted:May 10, 2004 8:36:18 PM

Oh, thank you!!

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Anonymous
Joined Sep 01, 2014
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Posted:Oct 12, 2004 2:46:51 PM
Subject:..

Well I spent two and a half years in a community college and didn't get anywhere because I was to proud to admit that I had a problem.

I struggled with mathmatics mostely and forigen language. My main regret was that I didn't disclose my LD when I first enrolled. So as my college career became more intense I began to get really discouraged and ended up skipping a lot of classes and as a result I was academically dismissed.

So now at the age of 24 and after three years of working in meaningless low paying jobs (wal-mart, manufacturing,etc..) I desperatly want to go back to school and become an Ld teacher. I recently took a full comprehensive phsycoeducational evaluation and pin pointed exactly what my problem is. So next fall I hope to enroll full time at a CC, this one I researched through the Pererson's college guide and I think it's going to turn out to be a good mach. I will then transfer to a four year to a state college and take it from there.

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victoria
Joined Jun 13, 2003
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Posted:Oct 12, 2004 11:12:19 PM

Well, I went back to university at age 36 as a single mother of a five-year-old, to finally get the math degree that got really messed up the first go-round. It was fun, I did far better the second time around, and I managed to do a double degree in languages on the side at the same time.
Then I go into grad school as an older adult over forty, but very much the wrong place, I found, and should have left the first semester -- want to go back to that in another place when other issues permit.

As a tutor and sometime part-time college instructor, I find that adult students have a much greater chance of success than the kids right out of high school. Nothing is certain but much better odds. Adults know why they are there and where they are going, what works for them and what doesn't; they have the confidence in themselves to ask questions and to go look for help, and they have learned work habits. Also mostly they aren't so distracted by experimenting with intoxicants and hunting a mate.

If you want to succeed, use what you've got. Don't try to hide and to be a conformist, but stand up for yourself and be a leader. On the other hand, I have seen the occasional adult student who used leadership to disrupt classes, even worse at thirty than at eighteen -- if the class isn't going well, try to find something constructive to do, get help, talk to the instructor.

Make sure to schedule study time into your day. I have seen adult students who thought that if they hired a babysitter for exactly three hours of class time, their job was done and everything they didn't know after that was the instructor's fault.
Doesn't work that way. If you look at high school (180 days x 45 minutes) you get 120 hours in class; in college (14 weeks x 3 meetings x 50 minutes, or equivalent) you get 42 hours in class. Guess where the other nearly 80 hours has to come from?
A rule of thumb handed out by one college faculty said that for every one hour of class you need to spend *at least* two hours outside of class. Well, 40 and 80 as above, makes sense. And you have to schedule that two hours -- work, kids, and house can take up all your time and you wonder why you never study . . . go to the library or math lab or tutoring center if you need to, to make yourself work.

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Anonymous
Joined Sep 01, 2014
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Posted:Nov 08, 2004 11:06:56 AM

Hesterprynne,

I'm 55, graduated at 22, so it's been 33 years, two disabled kids, a zoo's worth of pets and fish and a husband and 4 businesses later, and I'm starting my master's degree in rehabilitation counseling. I'm taking one course and working full time, my kids are grown but still need a lot of "shepherding"; one doesn't drive and still needs to be carted around everywhere. My plate was full before starting studies.

What I've learned:

Hubby needs to learn to cook if he doesn't already. Mine does, which is a godsend, and he LOVES to barbecue chicken 10 lbs at a time which lightens the cooking load a lot. If you can't barbecue all year as we can here in Miami, get a 5 or 6-quart slow-cooker and cook 5 lbs at once.

Cook BIG chunks of meat on weekends and one large pasta meal such as lasagna, a big ziti-something-or-other, and it will cover you when you can't be there to spend a "decent" amount of time cooking.

Like salads? Buy the 3-head package of romaine, open the leaves to rinse them clean, then chop the entire thing up. It will fill at least 3 gallon-size ziplocs, but then salads for the whole week will be ready in a jiffy. You can chop celery ahead of time, too, but tomatoes will go mushy on you, so keep them intact until just before mealtime. Don't pre-cut anything that turns brown, like apples. For variety, throw in nuts & raisins. Delightful with celery and a light touch of Zesty Italian.

Set a schedule for study. No schedule means everyone thinks you can do something else. Your study time is just that--YOURS. Book it, POST IT, insist upon it until everyone just takes it for granted. Make it a bit more than you really need and overstudy for the first half of every semester. Cuts the need to cram for finals in half. Then, when later assignments are heavier and take longer, everyone lets you have the time because they're used to it by now.

Talk to your profs. Tell them about your disability and how it's affecting you (if it is). If you need extra time in exams, make sure your school's disability office gets that set up for you. If you need more time on assignments, that's between you & the prof on most campuses. Do NOT wait until the day before. If you see a week ahead of time that you can't make it, that's the time to bring it up. Profs think they smell a rat if you wait until the last minute--and often they do. Manage your time so you can tell in advance if you'll need more.

Talk to advisers. Find out which courses are good for people who work and think as you do. Don't sign up for a teacher who teaches conceptually if you are a linear, sequential thinker. Find out if there are profs known to be nasty to or bad for LDers. Leave those in your dust. Sign up for everyone else. If you MUST take a course with one of them, get that book or tape on How To Get Along With Difficult People. It will help. Or see if there is a distance learning course that will meet the credit criteria and take the course that way.

Make friends with your adviser at the Disability Office. Swing by (with appointment) after tests - it's a good time period between visits, and they like to know how you're doing. Most students only come in when there's a problem or they have a required visit - and the adviser doesn't know them well enough to help fully if that's all you give them to work with.

Slow reader or need repetition: Go to Books on Tape. Your Disabilities Office will help you do this.

Don't know your learning style? We LDers MUST know this. It's how we know where our strengths will be. Find out where on campus this can be determined and how you get it done. Then use that information to determine which profs to take, which courses will work when you have choices.

Schedules: Make'em. Don't flake your way through. Sit down on day 1 with your syllabus (or all of them) and map out on a calendar all the way through the semester what the assignments are, what family obligations there are, when are appointments that involve you, when are tests, etc. Wherever you see lots of things landing all at once, start seeing how you can re-schedule some of it to spread it out more evenly. Many profs will give a bit of information early to allow you to do an assignment earlier or may agree to give you a couple of days more when you show them what you will be up against. Multiple exams (mid-terms & finals) on same day are a red flag - start early getting prof agreements to let you do one exam a day.

If you're in undergrad courses, you'll have a lot of younger classmates who don't have the responsibilities you do. Your profs will understand.
don't be afraid to go to anyone to talk about anything. From a need to clarify your understanding to complaints about a prof who won't bend to help you succeed, talk, talk, talk, and in the matter of complaints, do it in writing, using your University's complaint procedures. I can't stress how important that is. There ARE ways to get things straightened out, and staff are expected to support you in using them. If they don't, go higher and higher until you get the support.

At registration time, register for 15 hours. You don't get charged tuition fees unless you keep them on the list beyond the Drop Period. Find out which course will be the most successful (or courses) and which ones you can handle and drop the rest. Your refund will be almost intant.

Make specific time for your husband. You need his support. He can't support you if he doesn't know what's going on. That will come out every day in conversation. But if you get too busy and he begins to feel neglected, the whole family will feel it. Go on "dates", create a new, short daily "ritual" for the two of you that is absolutely sacred and will NOT be dumped no matter how busy you get. Send him a letter to thank him for his support. TAKE NOTICE of his needs, and your children's needs. If they know you know and care, even if you can't do anything about it this instant, their knowing that you care is vital.

Take a few minutes for yourself at least once a week. 1 hour can be so very refreshing, no matter how you use it for yourself. (NOT housecleaning alone!) We all have the same 24 hours a day; we all have to struggle to learn mastery of our time and ourselves. We have no mastery of our time until we master ourselves. When you learn what are your truest priorities and what can wait and how to say NO to everything else, you'll find the time for yourself IS there.

I work in the Disability Resource Center at Florida International University, and this is what I'd tell someone coming in here. I wish you success. Believe me, luck has nothing to do with it! You CAN do it!

Michele Williams
Education Consultant/Advocate

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Anonymous
Joined Sep 01, 2014
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Posted:Dec 07, 2004 8:37:06 PM

I've got lots of leeway for being a flake and making mistakes, and generally thinking slowly. All of which is normal student behaviour! The mistakes are necessary: if you don't make mistakes you don't learn anything. "Being a flake" often means you can think outside the box, which is good! Thinking slowly is required for good understanding. Nobody catches on in a flash except geniuses, and there really aren't too many of those!

I want to go back to school, for my own sake. I'd like to contribute to our income. I want him to to be able to retire without worrying. I don't want to just any "job". All of which makes school LESS torturous and boring and much more rewarding.

So I want to intervene on behalf of kids like that. You have a goal, which makes school more interesting, and easier than doing a subject just 'cause you have to.

I just don't pick up on these little bits of information that the rest of the population automatically knows. Somehow, you're supposed to know what the procedure is or what this phrase means. I'm quite certain catalogues are written to confuse. I don't agree the "rest of the population knows". I find catalogues extremely confusing and I need an advisor. I've learned through my students and my own experience that if I pretend I understand, sooner or later I look ignorant, so I might as well admit ignorance and ask the bloody questions now! :-)

Does anyone have a similar experience: being out of the loop for a long time then getting back into it? What's it like? I was so scared to go back to school I took the easiest program I could take. I was the oldest in the program, and some days felt like it, but it was stimulating and exciting. I found I could do and understand things that whizzed over my head in high school. I understood things now because I had life experiences that I needed in order to understand them. I was motivated: I wanted to go to class, and I wanted to do homework! It took me in a direction I never expected. I went from there to a position in the college and have been taking courses and challenging myself ever since.

And it took me 45 minutes to compose this stupid post!! :lol: And it took me 25 to answer it, even though I pasted and copied most of it! :lol:

Just make sure you get your counselor/advisor on side with your LD. Talk to the school well before you enroll in your 1st class and think about any accommodations you might need/want. You will find people much more helpful if you address this as soon as you apply.

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Anonymous
Joined Sep 01, 2014
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Posted:Dec 08, 2004 8:47:00 AM
Subject:man!

We should all form a support group, eh? When you are an older student going back to University it is hard. But, when you are an older, l.d. student going back to University it is surreal at times. The little things are surreal, but it is best to laugh them off. Like, I have dyscalculia like the dickens, straight up total non verbal l.d. and all of that. I have to take my math final after a while, it is for a class that I have failed and have no way of passing. But, I do not care, I am taking it over with three other courses in the spring. I had to beg to do that, and I do not give a darn.
This final is open book. So, I typed out with the equation editor every postulate I could think of because I cannot write them out well. This, I did earlier in the day, hours it took. I took this over to the "halls of English" because I figured I could read it over there what with my having a class there later in the day (I am a physically sloth older student). I drew stares because I was reading math in english and some younger gals commented on that, near the soda pop machines as though my five foot ten self could not see them, eh? It was funny because it almost got me upset...and then it dawned on me that it would be silly to because it took me longer to type the damn thing out than it did for me to color code it with my highlighters. These are the silly things older l.d. students face. It is all silly. I get asked questions that are soo silly, like, why I do all my math on graph paper...I say it was on sale at Wal Mart so it works for me! So silly.

ejw is cool and I respect where you are coming from. I am at University now so I can have a fair job later on for security. I do not think my brothers would like to care for me in my dottage at all. If I were to retire tommorrow, I would get $550.00 a month, so you bet I work hard at school and at my jobs. I went back to University after an almost nine year hiatus.

I was at Miami Dade College, I really recommend them if you are l.d.(they haven't on campus housing, though), my mother got ill with cancer so I had to formally withdraw and make sure she was alright and to make sure my younger brothers graduated high school in one piece and all of that. YEARS later, I finally get to go back to University proper. My first semester at University, a University that has an average student age of 23 was hard. It was hard because students did not get where I was coming from. Like with the l.d. thing, all the silliness about the graph paper this and the color coding that...freaked the youngsters out and I did not give a darn. Keeping a date book freaked me out, I filled mine out after getting the schedule of readings from the profs and test dates and stuff and it took me three hours to write it out in my date book and wall calendar. I walk around never knowing the room numbers of my classes by heart and never knowing a heck of a lot without my date book and my organised binder of notes and stuff. And I do not care. I draw stares sometimes with my big ole binder and stuff and I do not care. You be strong and stay true to yourself, man. I have to go but write more it you wish. I just know the number one thing is be organised and do not worry if you have to start from stratch with some things like math or history, we all have to build that foundation one brick at a time.

I am a bad typest, so forgive me, y'all.

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victoria
Joined Jun 13, 2003
Posts: 1784

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Posted:Dec 08, 2004 9:54:55 PM

Funny looks? You don't know funny looks!
I went back to university at age 37 with a five-year-old child. On days when she didn't have classes, she came to university with me. That gets you a look or six. Later on in a graduate school with a classy reputation and nothing else it also got me some very nasty anonymous letters (one of many reasons I didn't finish that graduate degree)
I'm an absent-minded professor type, can tell you the dates of all sorts of things in history but not the day of the week today, can reel of the calculus formulas but have to count the date out on my fingers, and so on. So when days get very complex (and they sure did when going to school, working, and raising a child) I write notes on my left hand. That really gets you a lot of looks but I don't care, I never missed a tutoring student and never forgot my daughter. I did show the notes to the exam proctor once t make sure they saw it wasn't cheating, just the day's schedule.
Merlin, I don't go for big binders, too irritating having the papers drop out; try the student bookstpre for one of those big backpacks.
I was double-majoring in math and languages, the math being my main major and the languages being a strong personal interest and filling up my schedule to be full time and get student aid. I get antsy sitting still listening to something I could read ten times as fast, and to repetitive questions and answers, so I used to work on messy math problems during Spanish class. One of my fellow students got very offended by this and told me off one day for "not showing respect" for the other students and the instructor (who was being hurt by my math problems??) Of course in the classes where I did put my full attention on the professor, then I got criticized for being pushy and taking over the discussion. You can't win.

Just say the heck with them and go about getting the best education you can.

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Anonymous
Joined Sep 01, 2014
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Posted:Jan 25, 2005 9:45:31 PM

I am 32 and was diagnosed with multiple Ld's in elementary school. After being told I would never go to college, I can't seem to stop. If you do not have recent diagnosis, get one. Make sure to go to a good LD specialist, ask your college. After determining what accomodations will help you to succeed and securing them, go for it. Look into processing deficits since you describe being "slower" than average. I have a MA and am just completing a Law degree. Some days it is terrifying, especially as I never have mastered the art of organization, but I feel good about me. Even though it takes me twice as long to complete tests and I have no notes at the end of the semester. Do what will make you feel good about you and don't worry about the LD. Diagnosis, Recomendations, Plan w/ School and go for it.

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hesterprynne
Joined May 05, 2004
Posts: 32

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Posted:Jan 27, 2005 12:38:05 AM

8 months later and I'm finally following up on this! WOW! What great advise. Thanks for giving me an idea what college looks like from a grown-up LD perspective. Merlinjones, your typwritting is perfectly respectable.

What a relief to know there are others like me who have done (are doing) just what I want to do.

It's noteable from all your responses what a diversity of "symptoms" there are under the ld diagnosis. I shouldn't be surprised. It's not an exact science. I want there to be neat, consice definitions of, for example, central auditory processing disorder. I guess there is, actually. But to hear two or three people with capd describe what they struggle with, there's a range of symptoms. And those symptoms themselves come in varying degrees of intensity.

Now I'm all psyched, but have no money. :roll:

Thanks, everyone, if you're still around!

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