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My Mom Is Going Back To College


Graduation cap and diploma

When I was born, my mom had recently left off pursuing a criminal justice degree to stay home and raise her large-headed son. Then the other siblings started pouring in, or out, I suppose, and as Dan John is fond of saying: “Life happens.”

Over 30 years passed. Now she is going to go back to college after all that time; I could not be more excited and proud. Not that college is necessary for everyone, and it’s certainly not like she needs the career at this point. She’s going because it is something left unfinished. A nagging curiosity has sustained itself across three and a half decades and now she will answer its call after decades of toil and child-rearing madness.

“I just want it for me.” How great is that!

During my last year of undergraduate school there were several older students in my classes. I’m sure the teachers would say that they were easily the most dedicated students and the least troublesome. I talked with a few of these more advanced students and was not surprised to learn that, generally speaking, they were there with purpose, not just because it was “time to go to college.”

She’ll be doing correspondence courses, so no sitting in the classroom with the whelps for her, but the diploma will not say: This degree* is awarded to Linda Hanagarne, but it was completed via distance, so it’s, you know…I guess it’s better than no degree, right?

She’ll be done in two years with a Psychology degree. With the credits that are still valid, that’s the program that will allow her to finish a degree the quickest in a subject she is still interested in. I think I’m more excited about this than she is.

Anyone else here on the fence? Considering the great return to campus, virtual or otherwise?

Mom, I want a guest post about it.


Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Pauline July 10, 2011, 1:02 pm

    I went back to college at age 50, returning to obtain teacher recertification. It was with a purpose, after divorce, to make myself more employable. It was great to be learning again, and being there to learn and not to party did separate me from many other students, but the professors were wonderful and kept telling me after I handed in my assignment that I should publish them. What an affirmation for me! And, yes, my children were proud, too.

  • Heather July 10, 2011, 5:48 pm

    Josh Hanagarne! I did my Masters in an entirely online environment, and a lot of those men and women were around your mom’s age! World’s Strongest Librarian’s Mom, I applaud your efforts! I think this is awesome! So. . . . what school are you going to? I’ve been considering doing some kind of Phoenix Online thing, and I also have courses available to me via my State Board of Ed, But either way. . . . THIS IS AWESOME! OK, funny community college story–my brother did a lot of his basic coursework through West Virginia Northern Community College up home, and they had a mascot–the Fightin’ Chickenhawks! Remember the itty-bitty chickenhawk that used to hassle Foghorn Leghorn? yeah. . . . they were like that, only they looked a lot more ticked off. But still. . . . FIGHTIN’ CHICKENHAWKS! 😀

  • Julianne Fuchs-Musgrave July 11, 2011, 5:07 am

    Excellent!!! Interesting also to read the first two comments. Like Pauline, I returned at age 50 to get that “piece of paper” to allow me to substitute teach. But as I finished the first degree (English Literature & Language, 44 credits in two semesters), someone told me that I could do a second BA without repeating the “core” credits. So in another two semesters I took that second (BA, Studio Art /Psychology) degree. My time was spent split between having my body in the art studios, welding in Steel Sculpture & Lithography–and in online courses in Abnormal Psychology. It was wonderful. While I only averaged 4-6 hours of sleep between bending steel in the daytime & reading the current research from the American Psychological Assoc. in the wee hours–it was a rich and vital time. And that second degree–like your mom, I just wanted it for me.
    Thanks for the happy memories this morning!

  • Linda Hanagarne July 11, 2011, 6:41 am

    Hey Josh, this is mom. Thanks for the support and encouragement. Such a nice post. I WILL write you your guest post when I’m half-way there. I have to get through that stats class I’m dreading first. Love you. Mom

  • Michelle July 11, 2011, 9:26 am

    I originally went to college for graphic design, but due to several circumstances, I didn’t get a BA. For the past 2 years, I’ve been saying that I’m going to go back to school for Marine Biology, but I haven’t quite made it there yet. I’ve pushed it back again to next fall because I want to take the SATs first (I somehow got out of taking them the first time). As I take the practice tests, I realize how rusty I am, and that I need to study more to get back some of that old stuff I haven’t looked at since high school. But I do plan to go the more traditional route, I don’t think online will help me get to where I want to be.

    At any rate, all of that was to say, Good For You to anyone going back to school. It’s exciting and fun!

  • Amy July 11, 2011, 10:03 am

    You can do it Linda! Someday I will go back and finish the PhD in Health Education I started. I would like to do it soon, but in reality with homeschooling and all that I do here at home it will probably be 15 to 20 more years.

  • Jodi Kaplan July 11, 2011, 10:13 am

    Go mom!

    (my mom just got her real estate license)