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Old 06-18-2012, 11:04 AM
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Default Going back to college as an older student

After graduating high school (back in 2002 - I'll be 28 this year) I decided to go to college for accounting. I did 2 years of a 3 year course and then decided that I didn't want to be an accountant so I dropped out of the program. For the last 8 years I've worked for a few small business' and have been stuck in dead end jobs while trying to "find myself" and determine what I want to do with my life career wise.

This fall I will be starting an accelerated course in Medical Office Administration (2 years crammed into 1 year with no summer break) at a local college. My ultimate goal is to work in a hospital setting, but with this course I can basically work in administration for any company that is in the medical field.

I'm super excited about going back to school and eventually having an actual career but I'm also extremely nervous. It's been 8 years since I've been in school and I know a lot can and probably has changed in those years. This is also a different college than the one I previously attended so everything will be new to me!

So, for those that are currently in school or for those that have returned to school, what has your experience been like?

I know I'll be older than a lot of the student population, but I also know that many people are choosing to go back to school later in life to either upgrade their skills or change careers completely so I won't be completely alone.

I guess I'm just worried that I won't be in tune with the way schools are now and I don't want to seem archaic. Like, does everyone use a laptop for note taking or is pen and paper still widely used? Do people even take notes anymore or are recorded lectures the norm?

Any info would be greatly appreciated.
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Old 06-18-2012, 11:25 AM
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I graduated with my BA two years ago and used a laptop and pen and paper for notes depending on the day & class. I'm going for my MEd (masters of education) this year, I plan to use a combination still. I'll be 28 this year as well, you'll be fine!
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Old 06-18-2012, 11:42 AM
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I went back at 45 and got my BA in English...you're being much more practical, there's alot more jobs in the financial sector than teaching, gah...wish I could count...

You'll be fine, you haven't been out of school that long and probably understand techy stuff and basic computers better than I ever will. Each instructor has their own syllubus and their own way of managing class and homework. Some use "Blackboard"-like a forum where you check for assignments, notes, can leave messages for other people in class, find study groups. Other professors you bring you notebooks and pens and/or recording devices and write notes till the cows come home.

Mucho Congrats on going back!!!!!!!
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Old 06-18-2012, 01:57 PM
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Thank you both for your replies!

AdrianneIsabel, thanks! I was thinking of using a combo of laptop and pen and paper. When I was in college there were a few people who used laptops but the majority of us just stuck to just written notes. Congrats on your BA and good luck with your MEd!

Kaydee, thank you also! I know some classes will use "Blackboard", I've used it before in college but very minimally (the courses and teacher's weren't very geared towards it, but this college seems to rely on it a great deal).

Congrats on your BA in English! I've thought about teaching for a long time but the job market here is so over saturated with current teachers and recent grads looking for jobs. I know some people who are currently in Thailand, Australia and Dubai teaching because they couldn't find a local job. And while they make it sound lovely, living so far away from family is just not my cup of tea!
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Old 06-18-2012, 03:27 PM
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I did university out of high school, got an honours BA in theatre. Did random jobs for a bunch of years. Decided maybe I wanted to be a paramedic.. but needed a high school math credit.. I kept putting it off. I didn't want to go back to high school as an adult. Finally got off my tush at 26 and took the math, got into college at 27, and just finished my program at 29.

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Old 06-18-2012, 04:22 PM
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I've been thinking of going back but I know when I was in college there were people three times your age there who were doing great. I think you'll be fine and be surprised how little has really changed.
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Old 06-18-2012, 04:47 PM
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It's not that bad. I'm 27 and started back this spring. I find it amusing that I'm older than most of my TAs that teach labs and stuff, but a large chunk of the population is what I guess they call non-traditional, especially in the field I went into.

My school uses blackboard on just about every course. I like it because you get feedback pretty quickly (depending on who does the grading of course...)

Good luck!
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Old 06-18-2012, 05:04 PM
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Where I go you wouldn't be "archaic" at all!! When I read your title I was not expecting you to be only 28. I mean yes you'll be older than most but I don't think you'll stick out.

And no, I dont' use a laptop and IME most people don't, and when I look around a class where notes/lectures aren't available online everybody is writing (some are typing, but recording lectures is not the norm here). There may be some things that are new to you like blackboard (place for instructor to upload readings, online quizzes for marks, etc), and we have these things called "iClickers" here to answer in-class questions. It's really nothing too special lol

Some instructors use ppt, some use overhead projectors, I had one who used word documents, some just talk and write on the board. Some post their lectures online, some post lectures with fill-in-the-blanks, some email you notes, some do none of the above.
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Old 06-18-2012, 08:08 PM
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You'll be fine. The hardest part is not telling the younger kids when they're being morons.

I also highly suggest not using a laptop for notes. They can become too distracting, plus you retain more when you actually write things down.

Most classes now though do have an online counterpart like blackboard where the profs will post things like the powerpoints from classes, grades, assignments, and study guides.
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Old 06-19-2012, 10:09 AM
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Thank you all for your advise and encouragement!

It's nice to know that I'm not the only one that didn't know exactly what I wanted to do straight out of high school!

I think being older and more mature (than I originally was when I started college) will be a huge benefit for me. This is also a program that I am interested in and want to do, and not just something that my parents would prefer me to do, so I think it'll go better this time around.

Thanks again!
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