Swimming Against the Online Currents – A Baby Boomer Dad Goes Back to School!

So here you are, at 1 am in the morning, wondering if an online degree will make a difference to your situation. You are a tired, worried, Dad, and have just been laid off from GM after working for 22 years on the assembly line. You think to yourself, can I still learn? Will my brain respond? Where do I begin again in this Job market? No one wants to interview me with only a high school diploma, they want at least an Associate or bachelors before I can get an interview.

Even with 22 years of experience. Where do I look for a course? Community college? Local University? Online programs? What course? What about Accreditation? I still have to get some immediate work, anything to support my family. Maybe some constructions work from FEMA while I travel to another state? Hmmm yes, and then I can register for an online course? Yes maybe that's it! Yes that's it! But uhmmm can I still learn … I am a baby boomer generation daddy, I wonder what research has found out … well where can I start with looking for an online course. Do they qualify for financial aid? What will I study? Can I handle it!

All these questions are valid and make sense! Yes you can still learn and excel at it too! I will address that in another article. Recent brain research by an expert in the field, (Marian Cleeves Diamond) has proven that adult learners continue to learn as long as the nerve cells are challenged, the brain is enriched, use it or loose it! With 22 years of real life work experience you may be able to get some life experience credit!

The online modality will be great for you if you can say yes to the following:

o Can you work and study independently without supervision?

o Do you have good reading and comprehension skills? (Most online programs involve reading,

understanding, synthesis and application of the material).

o Are you self disciplined and can manage your time within reason?

o Can you stay motivated without a cheer leader?

o Do you enjoy learning, especially when it is related to some of your past experience?

If the answer to these questions is predominately yes, then you are a good candidate for online education. Most community colleges and universities now have programs and courses available online. Also, there are universities that have continuous programs that run throughout the year and you do not have to wait till the next semester, you can start as soon as you are ready!

The next step is to think carefully and decide what course or program would you like to enroll in and what prospects this will bring. You are on your way into a new and exciting journey! In my next article we will look at how to choose a program and college that meets your academic and situational needs. Hang In There! You can do This!

A. Brewer

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