Salute to Spouses Blog

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The College Spouse: Just Do It

One of the most common excuses I hear when I ask spouses why they don’t go back to school is, ‘I am too old to go back’. Why do people do this to themselves? Why do they think they are too old to do anything?

I read an article a few weeks ago about a 90-year-old man who finally learned to read. He had gone his whole life not knowing the written word, never having read a book, read a bill, nothing. It would have been so easy for him to say he was too old, that he was at the end of his life. What was the point? Instead, he made a goal and he met it, despite his age. If he can do that, why can’t you?

I am not going to sit here and tell you that the thought hasn’t crossed my mind. While I have taken most of my classes online, I have had a few courses in a classroom, including a recent class in public speaking. As we gave introductory speeches we wrote about our fellow classmates, it hit me. I am one of the oldest people in the class. There was one woman who graduated from high school a year before me, and another the year before that. But, all I heard during the speeches was that this person was 18 and graduated in 2011, or this person was 19 and graduated in 2010. What am I doing here with all these kids? I am old enough to be their mom - granted a very young, doesn’t look my age mom, but still! At that moment I regretted not going to college when I was younger.

Then I realized it’s never too late. My dad always had dreams of going back to school and becoming a teacher, but always had a reason not to go - work, us girls and so on. But he finally did it. He graduated from college the day before I got married, earning his bachelor’s degree in history at 45. And he didn’t stop there. He went on to get his master’s and fulfilled his dream of becoming a teacher. And let me tell you, as we sat at his graduation ceremony and watched the procession of students, well over half were older students and not the standard 20-something.

So my point is, don’t let something as silly as your age stop you from getting an education. Quite a few of my friends have gone back to school, and while they do wish they had done it when they were younger, they are thankful that they decided to go back. You don’t need to jump in full force either. Start with a class or two and see how it goes. Even if you aren’t sure what you are interested in, take a class and see what sparks your interest. I know a lot of us have other obligations, so a full load might not be possible. But the sooner you start, the sooner you will finish and that feeling of accomplishment is well worth it. I am proud of myself for going back and I am proud that my kids see me going as well. So I guess my question is, what’s stopping you?

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