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“reign in blood”

Since: May 09

Wilmington, IL

#1 Aug 6, 2013
DEAR ABBY: This letter is for "Torn in Milford, Conn." (May 16). I returned to college after 20 years of active duty and know firsthand how difficult the transition can be. Most universities have a veterans' service office where he might be able to connect with students with similar backgrounds and experiences to his. There should also be chapters of the American Legion and the Veterans of Foreign Wars where he can meet others.

I was fortunate that the university I attended (at age 45) had a dorm floor specifically for "nontraditional" students like me. In classes, I was able to make friends because my unique experiences enabled me to connect to the material in ways younger students could not, and by sharing those connections, people got to know me. Starting over -- starting something new -- is always difficult, but no education is ever wasted.

If he does want to explore a career in security, "Torn" should take a part-time job while attending school to help cover expenses; universities always need highly skilled employees, and university towns are filled with venues that require such skills. That being said, a diploma will get him further in his future.-- NONTRADITIONAL STUDENT, EKALAKA, MONT.

DEAR NONTRADITIONAL STUDENT: Thank you for sharing your personal experience. Your support and encouragement for "Torn" to complete his college education was endorsed by many other vets and college professors, who find vets to be great students:

DEAR ABBY: I'm concerned that there may be more going on with "Torn" than just that he/she doesn't fit in with peers in school. Being a combat vet and feeling disconnected from peers or having a desire to return to what they knew before (security work) is a sign of PTSD. Missing work is often "code" for survivor's guilt.("If I could go back and make it right, perhaps my buddy would be here, or I would be with my buddy.")

There are services available for vets suffering from PTSD if they recognize the need to reach out for them. Also, if this vet is using his/her educational benefits, then the chances of there being a training plan to help in readjustment is likely.-- VET WHO MADE IT THROUGH

DEAR ABBY: I am a longtime college professor. Many bright students, young and old, have similar complaints. "Torn," you sound like a great student, as many vets are. Try evening classes. They're usually available to any enrolled student and are the same courses taught in day sections. Students enrolled in these classes are mostly working adults who are more dedicated.

See if your college has online courses, so you won't have to deal with the students in person, although you may have to take part in online discussions. Check out your college's career services office and find a part-time job. This will give you a different peer group, plus give you some experience in your field. Your college's veterans' office may also have helpful resources for you.

I hope these ideas will help your college experience to be more pleasant and productive.-- DR. M. IN OKLAHOMA CITY

“reign in blood”

Since: May 09

Wilmington, IL

#2 Aug 6, 2013
If you're 45 yrs old and an undergrad university student, you're gonna be viewed as a loser no matter what you do. Go to a community college or take online courses instead.

Since: Dec 07

DuPage County

#3 Aug 6, 2013
I went back to school as a 24-year-old junior and it was odd for a few weeks. I can't imagine how different it'd be for a 45 y/o vet. Get involved with things on campus bud, or look into a non-residential college option.

“A Programmer is not in IT!”

Since: Feb 09

Neda, stay with me!

#4 Aug 6, 2013
I did not even go to a college (except to party) until I was 28. It was not so bad though because this was when IBM was downsizing, and there were quite a few older peeps retraining themselves.

“A Programmer is not in IT!”

Since: Feb 09

Neda, stay with me!

#5 Aug 6, 2013
The original LW was not 45, only in his early 20's I believe.
And of course your wrong about looking like a loser, and honestly, what 45yr old is gonna give a crap what some young punk thinks of them?
edogxxx wrote:
If you're 45 yrs old and an undergrad university student, you're gonna be viewed as a loser no matter what you do. Go to a community college or take online courses instead.

“The two baby belly, please!”

Since: Sep 09

Evanston IL

#6 Aug 6, 2013
I think I have PRSD: Post Rehash Stress Disorder.
Stina

Saint Petersburg, FL

#7 Aug 6, 2013
I finished college in my mid-late 20s. I had a lady in my classes that was in her 80s. She finished her degree right around the same time I did.

“A Programmer is not in IT!”

Since: Feb 09

Neda, stay with me!

#8 Aug 6, 2013
Team Squishy for the win!
squishymama wrote:
I think I have PRSD: Post Rehash Stress Disorder.

“reign in blood”

Since: May 09

Chicago, IL

#9 Aug 6, 2013
RACE wrote:
The original LW was not 45, only in his early 20's I believe.
And of course your wrong about looking like a loser, and honestly, what 45yr old is gonna give a crap what some young punk thinks of them?
<quoted text>
I don't care whether he cares or not, I was just mentioning how he'd be perceived. He'll be the creep on campus. I think for a person in his situation, something non residential like saulki said is the way to go.

“A Programmer is not in IT!”

Since: Feb 09

Neda, stay with me!

#10 Aug 6, 2013
The voice of experience I presume?
edogxxx wrote:
<quoted text>
He'll be the creep on campus.

Since: Aug 08

Location hidden

#11 Aug 6, 2013
squishymama wrote:
I think I have PRSD: Post Rehash Stress Disorder.
Me too!!!
Cass

Claremont, CA

#12 Aug 6, 2013
edogxxx wrote:
If you're 45 yrs old and an undergrad university student, you're gonna be viewed as a loser no matter what you do. Go to a community college or take online courses instead.
Bull. I teach at a state U. We have quite a few students who come to college in their 30s, 40s, 50s and even 60s for the first time. With very rare exceptions, these are the best students because they are mature and dedicated. More traditional undergrads look up to them. Professors respect them. I know, for example, that while I might get a 20-year-old arguing for a better grade and crying in my office because she didn't get an A, it will never happen with a 40-something student. They have more self-respect and generally better work ethic. I've had undergrads in my classes who are my age (40s) and older who dropped out years ago and came back. Sometimes they dropped out because they were lazy slackers, and sometimes because family circumstances made it impossible for them to complete a degree at that time. Now that they are mature adults, they work their butts off to earn that degree. Sometimes, I have students who never got a chance to go to college when they were 18, and at 40, they can finally afford the time and the cost of tuition. These are folks who are not going to be wasting time partying instead of studying. No, older students are definitely NOT losers.

Since: Mar 09

Miami, FL

#13 Aug 6, 2013
L1: "I was fortunate that the university I attended (at age 45) had a dorm floor specifically for "nontraditional" students like me."

Why the EFF would you live in a dorm at age 45? THAT is creepy.

“reign in blood”

Since: May 09

Chicago, IL

#14 Aug 6, 2013
j_m_w wrote:
Why the EFF would you live in a dorm at age 45? THAT is creepy.
Zactly!

See? Someone else gets it!

“reign in blood”

Since: May 09

Chicago, IL

#15 Aug 6, 2013
RACE wrote:
The voice of experience I presume?
<quoted text>
I proudly held the campus creep title for two consecutive years!

“...,to wit”

Since: Jun 09

Location hidden

#16 Aug 6, 2013
j_m_w wrote:
L1: "I was fortunate that the university I attended (at age 45) had a dorm floor specifically for "nontraditional" students like me."
Why the EFF would you live in a dorm at age 45? THAT is creepy.
It may be cheaper than renting an apartment
There is the opportunity to interact with people rather than be isolated.
If he was accustomed to being in a barracks, it might not be that different.

FWIW I took off a number of years after undergrad. I returned to grad school as a night student. I firmly agree that night students have more skin in the game: we were working during the day, had significantly reduced personal/family time.There was a fairly wide age range and people who were working in very diverse areas.

The ages in the class ranged from 22 up to their 50's.The people who were there because they couldn't figure out what else to do dropped out after the first semester.

“It made sense at the time....”

Since: May 09

Schaumburg, IL

#17 Aug 6, 2013
My upheaveled SIL is starting school soon... she didn't have hte opportunity rihgt out of HS (married a Marine and went to Okinawa), and now that she has to find her own way, she's going for an associates. We're telling her to take it slow; its been a long time since she's been in a situation like this, and she won't kwno how she "takes to it" until she's there. She probably learns differently now than 10, 20, 30 years ago.

“It made sense at the time....”

Since: May 09

Schaumburg, IL

#18 Aug 6, 2013
j_m_w wrote:
L1: "I was fortunate that the university I attended (at age 45) had a dorm floor specifically for "nontraditional" students like me."
Why the EFF would you live in a dorm at age 45? THAT is creepy.
Depending on the location, i'm wondering if on-campus housing was the only option... i htink it's neat for a college to have that arrangement. i went to a big, urban university, so commuters were the majority, adn i think a lot of kids lived nearby but off-campus. When i was earning my MA, the were building a lot of new stuff - new on-campus arena, modern housing, science building... it was a way different campus in just 5 years, and i doubt i'd recognize it now.
Kuuipo

Monterey, CA

#19 Aug 6, 2013
I know an older gent who went to school to get his masters after he retired. Do what you want to do. Don't allow yourself to be intimidated.

“What's it to ya?”

Since: Mar 09

Location hidden

#20 Aug 6, 2013
Community colleges are full of people in their 40's. Even at the university there are a lot of older people. Certainly by a large majority it is younger people, but they are mostly undergrad, but even in undergrad there are some older (older than me even) people.

A lot of it's the way the economy has been in recent years and people are going back to get those degrees that they never finished and/or have been lying about having all these years, and then there's people like me who never finished and want their Phd. <shrug> Of course Phd students are NOT undergrads...j/s.

And contrary to what Edog says (naturally) anyone sincerely trying to get an education is not, and is not looked as as a loser. Someone pushing 40 and working in a factory with no aspirations to do more?.....

-"No matter how rich or successful a man is, without an education he's nothing." -Rodney Dangerfield in Back to School-

Word.

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