|Judith Whitehead lives in Amherst New York|
( A suburb of Buffalo, N.Y.)
and has worked in the ophthalmology
field of medicine for nearly 40 years
I think as teenagers we don't always know what is best for us and our futures; I haven't been a teenager since the 1970's but I think it is much the same for today' s generation. I thought I wanted to get married in my teens and no one could tell me otherwise.
I did take the time to obtain an Associates degree in Medical Assisting and shortly thereafter started a family with my husband. It wasn't until my late 30's that I began to regret not obtaining and finishing a Bachelors Degree. Life gets in the way sometimes with family commitments and financial responsibilities. Working full timeduring days, I decided to return to a state school and at night get a degree in Gerontology. Yes, it was much more difficult to concentrate at night after having worked a long day, but I was ready for it and committed. Many students I sat next to were teenagers
since they did not always attend class as I did, they aligned themselves with me with homework assignments and class notes. I felt at times like I was the “mom” of the class; always sitting in the front of the room and befriending the teacher who was closer to my age. It was an added burden financially for our family but well worth it.
Now that New York state will be affording some students financial help with their education, it is the time to take full advantage of this offer. Yes there are stipulations to this offer but considering the hundreds I had to pay at a later age, I would have jumped at the chance to have saved those mega bucks. Now that I am in my 60's I can once again take advantage of taking “free” classes as after age 65 in New York state, once can audit a class for free. Yes, although it's not for credit towards a degree any longer, but it is a great way to add to my education and expand knowledge that I can still enjoy.
Education is never a waste of time and can fulfill so many goals. It is personally gratifying and improves earning power in many ways. The satisfaction I felt was well worth the time and the effort I spent those many nights rushing to class to get a parking spot. I also noticed that at a later age I felt almost “smarter” and was amazed how much material I enjoyed and retained those days. As long as the spirit is willing and the body able, education is boundless.
My husband decided to return to school in his 30's as well, to obtain his Masters Degree. Attending at night and on weekends made his accomplishment attainable while working during the day as he did to finish his undergraduate degree after we had gotten married. We both graduated in June of 2001 and were able to celebrate our accomplishments together.
Yes, we were the ones easy to spot in the audience with our salt and pepper hair and were joined by a sea of young people, which made the moment even more sweet and gratifying.
Getting an education is never a waste of time at any age and can be accomplished with a little determination and gumption and dedication. If the mind and body is willing, there is always a way.
|Judy, Judy, Judy....|