Logging roads are full of rocks that sink deep into mud. That mud hardens over time, imprisoning the rocks for the rest of their days. Perhaps out of spite, they seize an opportunity to trip up hikers who stub their toe and trip.
Older students such as myself are faced with these rocks, and each one is an obstacle on their own road to education.
Seven years ago, I attended a college in another state for two years. I ran out of money and was forced to drop out of school. I needed a full-time job to support myself, with the hope that I could return one day.
The job search, however, was difficult. Employers would not consider me as I had no “degree.” “Degree” is the key word: The job force of today will not hire or even tryout a person who has no degree.
Tell me what job you did find here.
In the summer of 2018, I began to rethink my life. My current full-time job was not a place where I wanted to stay. I did not receive benefits and could not rise in the ranks as I had no “degree.” I had two dreams; to be an author and a web designer. I wanted an office or a stay-at-home job. That whole summer I struggled. I wanted to be someone new, but I was frozen with fear. I had to seek counsel from my parents, best friends and people who I considered advisers. After reassurance from everyone I came to the decision: I trudged back to that old logging road and that is when the rocks before me became real.
The first rock was the application process. I decided that Laramie County Community College was where I wanted to be. Being out of school for seven years, I had to take pre-reqs for placement in the correct classes what are these. My classes were not accredited and so therefore, basic classes such as math, English, public speaking and College Success had to be retaken. This slows down the time it takes to complete a degree. It also adds to the expense.
The second rock was the need to support myself. I battled on the choice of taking two part time jobs or only one part-time. For the spring semester, I was able to work full-time but use my lunch hour to attend my two classes.
Projects for my classes caused a bit of a strain on my work schedule, especially when it required me to leave early or I had an assignment out of town. An opportunity rose for a possible job position at LCCC. I applied and was accepted. Fall semester arrived and I now worked two part-time jobs and took five classes. This was challenging. I had to learn to schedule my time and use it wisely. For older students, you have to work to live: Scheduling the time to attend classes and study and do homework is a big struggle.
The third rock was cost. All the money I saved for college did not satisfy the cost of education. I had several options available, such as financial aid, scholarships, or whatever money I could scrape out of my own pocket. I was afraid that problems would arise if I were to apply for financial aid, so I started by using the small amount of money to cover the first couple of months in the spring. I searched for scholarships but found only a select few that could cover the cost of one month. After struggling with bills such as health care, insurance and cutting back on spending even more, I was forced to try for financial aid. I was later offered a grant which covered the rest of the school year. For the Fall, I reapplied and again my costs for my classes were thankfully covered.
The fourth rock is the struggle for everyone: I was older. I struggled academically for two years at my former college. I was 27 when I went back to LCCC. I questioned my abilities and would reminisce on my past failures. After talking with several people, they assured me all would be well. I just had to take that step.
However, the older one gets, the more the brain can no longer comprehend like it used to, and life presents many more challenges. They have pressures on all sides coming at them. Families can hinder study time. Older students,again, need to work. They may not sleep: This means the brain is not able to keep all the information in one setting, and they may need to ask more questions or be shown something or hear it several times in order to remember what they have learned.
These are just a few examples of what an older student faces. With a bit of encouragement and hope, the logging road of education will be restored. I still trip over rocks, some that seem even larger than the others.
Logging roads take years to revive, but once finished,they turn out to be the most beautiful sight in the eyes of the one who started on the journey.