Most people, when they hear I'm still working on my bachelor's degree, are encouraging and supportive. They get it, even when they find out it's not in nursing, which seems to be the #1 middle-age-back-to-college choice because of the need for nurses, and therefore, great salaries and great return for the investment.
But...every once in a while...I get raised eyebrows, and a "Why bother at your age?"
I shield myself from such naysayers by thinking of those who have gone before me, paving the way for those of us who flounder when expected to produce practical reasons for persistently pursuing a college degree when retirement age is around the corner.
Years ago I read an article in "Parade" about an elderly man in Chicago who had taken at least one college class every semester for, like, fifty years. He already had a collection of degrees, but still he continued, just because he loved to learn. When I first read it, I thought I'd have a degree by now, but made up my mind that I'd follow his lead and keep learning even afterward.
There are others who inspire me to keep plodding away, like Nola Ochs, the 95-year-old woman that graduated in May, 2007, alongside her 22-year-old granddaughter, and Winifred Jennings, 85, that just graduated from college with a bachelor's degree in behavioral sciences. (She's thinking about working on her master's degree, after taking a year off.)
I hope I can get my degree long before my 85th birthday, but even if it takes until I'm 95 (if I'm still alive, of course, God willing!), I'm gonna stick with it. I'm not out to set any records. But then, either were these role models of mine. They just loved to learn and wanted to finish what they started years before, just like me.
Winifred and Nola (and elderly man that just loves to learn), thanks for the inspiration to ignore the naysayers and keep chasing my dream.