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Starting college in your late 20's

Starting college at 28...

Well, I'm not the "typical" college student. I know there are plenty of people going back to school in their later years, but I don't fit under that category. I am starting out for the first time. Now I know I'm not alone in this adventure called college in your later years. Most people, by my age, have a career, or family; sometimes both. I have neither. I am a single woman with a dog and a cat.

I decided to start college after realizing that living on my own, while getting government assistance because of my disability, was not working for me. I was bored out of my mind. I started at Palm Beach State College in August of 2010, with no clue what I really wanted to do. I started out with a human services degree, but ended up changing it to general studies. It kept my options open until I was sure where I wanted my life to go. Looking around, all I saw were 18-20 year olds who really didn't care about being there. They acted like they were there because their parents made them, or because it was the natural flow of things. In each class, I couldn't pick out more than one other person who was actually serious about being there...Unless they were 20 years older than me. Even then, they were so lost in the difficult things they teach these days, compared to when they attended high school. Even I had difficulty with that. I learned new things that I had never even heard of in high school. I guess that is something to be expected when you start college 10 years after graduating high school. This created some major stress. How in the world was I EVER gonna pass my classes?? Sometimes I wanted to quit, but I kept telling myself I could do this.

The classes got harder as I moved through the required courses for my degree.I started with Prep math 1 and 2; moved on to intermediate algebra, something harder...and then...there was statistics. I thought, great, this shouldn't be too bad. It's all done on the calculator. Boy was I wrong! Once we got into learning the formulas, and then learning how to use the calculator to solve them, I started to get confused! Numbers always get jumbled up for me, and formulas get confused. How was I ever gonna pass this class??

Somehow I passed it. That was my last math class, and I celebrated! I thought things would only get easier now that I didn't have to stress about math anymore. That's not true! Nothing is easy! Macroeconomics came...I took notes, I listened, I studied...What did I learn? practically nothing. Was the professor to blame? Partially. She was there the first day, had a family emergency; gone for the next 3 weeks. The temporary replacement sucked! She just read from the slides. Very boring. By the end of the semester, I was barely passing. I met with the professor twice to try to find a way to pass. I passed by the skin of my teeth (4 points)!!

After that, I was like "when will I get out of this hell called college???"

Then came psychology, human growth and development, and child growth and development. All had the same sweet professor. She was a great professor, but a bit too laid back. I felt like I didn't have to try. I got A's in all her classes regardless.

When I was in my final semester (Fall 2012), I began to freak out. Biology lecture was kicking my a**! I actually cried sometimes, fearing I was going to fail, and have to take it over. I worked with the professor to make sure I was going to pass. Somehow I survived!

In December 2012, I was one of over a thousand students who walked across that stage and received my diploma. What made that day even more special (other than my mother being in the audience) was the surprise I got during the President's (PBSC) speech. He began talking about a young lady who was defying odds and getting her degree, all while suffering from one of the rarest and most disabling conditions known to man. When he said my name, and the name of my medical condition, I was in shock! I had never met the man before, and I had NO CLUE how he found out about me. When I walked across the stage, I gave him a huge hug! I will never forget that! Just wish I had video.

That made me feel like I was doing the right thing with my life; The fact that I inspired someone so much that they told the highest authority at the college about me! It was worth every heartache!

Graduation Photos!

Me in cap and gown

Me in cap and gown

My friend and myself after graduating!

My friend and myself after graduating!

Moving on to a University at 30...

I took my Associates degree from Palm Beach State College, and transferred to Florida Atlantic University. I am currently working on my Bachelors in Social Work with a concentration on child welfare. Every time I go on the college campus, I realize how very lucky I am. How blessed I am to have this opportunity. I am amazed at how far I've gotten. If someone asked me 5 years ago where I thought I would be, I would probably say I didn't have a clue. I know I would say I want to have a husband and be happily married, perhaps working on a family. Honestly, I do still want that, but I have changed my focus. I want to have a career first. I need success to make me feel better about myself. I need the self-esteem boost. College is doing that for me.

Ok...enough about that...time to get down to the real stuff...

I started at FAU in January 2013 with the optimism of a first time college student. It was a better campus; friendlier people; better professors.

From the moment I set foot on that campus, I felt like I was where I was meant to be. I was ready to get into the "fun" stuff in my college experience.

I started my Junior year of college taking these courses:

  • Professions of Social Work
  • Social work with vulnerable children, and
  • Social work policy and provisions.

I was so excited! My professors were great. The classes were interesting. The other students were actually serious about learning. How could it get any better??

Then came the news of the writing assignments. OH NO! How was I EVER going to write all those 7-9 page research papers in a few short months?? I tried to procrastinate as long as I possibly could, but was afraid of not meeting the deadlines. Most of my research took place within the last 3 weeks before they were due; with the exception of things that had earlier deadlines.

It is REALLY difficult to do all this work when your previous college didn't challenge you enough. PBSC made me lazy.There was never any work that took much time to do. It didn't challenge me enough. I was bored. Then came my first semester at FAU.

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WOW! So glad I know what I'm in for now. It's only gonna get harder. I am spending my summer off school, preparing myself for the most challenging work I've ever done in my life! I'm ready for this. I can do this. Nothing is going to stop me from achieving my dreams.

My lesson in telling you all this?




Kory Groves from Sacramento, California on February 25, 2016:

Congratulations! it takes some serious drive and determination to start. From playing a sport, it was fairly easy to jump into college because of all the people around me.

My girlfriend hasn't taken a class yet and she's 22 (she doesn't plan on starting anytime soon). But that is really inspiring to see your success! again, congratulations :)

Ruth on November 07, 2015:

I'm 27 and thinking to start college soon and I will be 28 by then. It will be my very first time attending college and as of right now, I'm not worried about being the oldest in class. rather wether I will be able to handle all the school work or not. Thank you for sharing your story. A bless you!

Kim S on August 02, 2014:

Olga, Congratulations on starting college. I can't say it will be easy, or even fun, but in the long run it will all be worth it. I'm glad my story inspired you to follow your dreams. Good Luck for your future! And, to Pema, thank you

OLGA ROSALES on August 01, 2014:


Pema on March 28, 2014:

You have done very well and followed your heart which is the best thing you did congrats!

Kurt Cobain on December 28, 2013:

Thank you, in addition to some of the more challenging aspects of transferring to a four year school, I'm concerned about meeting people and making a few friends. Congrats on your success and keep up the good work :)

Kim S on December 28, 2013:

It was a bit of a challenge on my part because I have trouble approaching people. But luckily there are some friendly people in this world and I took any opportunity That arose to strike up conversation. After the initial conversation, no matter how brief, I found it easier to approach that person.

Kurt Cobain on December 28, 2013:

Did you have any issues meeting people and making friends at your 4 year school?

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