"Now as I was young and easy under the apple boughs", (Dylan Thomas), I did not pursue higher education. Instead, I "tuned in, turned on and dropped out", (Timothy Leary). From Dylan to Timothy.I was once enrolled at the University of Illinois Circle Campus in Chicago. Never went to a class, not one. I think I was genuinely terrified by the prospect of self-incentive and self-discipline. I was also enamored of my new right not do what I was told. For years I could not visit a college campus without getting the willies. Then I had six kids and had neither the time nor the desire to be a student. They became students, and they went to college, and I went along by proxy. It was only this year at age 61 that I felt grown-up and responsible enough to go back to school. Besides, I am laid off, on unemployment in the middle of a recession, and essentially unemployable because of advanced age and lack professional accreditation. Not to mention I no longer have to pay tuition, a definite perk for getting old. I am attending a local community college and working towards a certificate in the medical field. I consider school my work, and the place I am hiding out until the economy improves or Social Security kicks in, whichever comes first. I like this job. It is challenging, diverse, and I am rewarded with a clear, non-illusive good grade when I do well instead of vagaries or disregard. In my entire working career, I have never experienced such encouragement or approbation. My hope is that a secondary education will give me a measure of control and a few choices over future employment; better yet, that I may stay here forever, finances permitting (probably not).

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Comment by Julie Mihaly on January 29, 2010 at 2:48pm
Virginia- Please, please tell me that you'll write something about your experience of going back to school, (that includes the wonderful introduction included above), for the "Learn" section of my online magazine, www.BoomUnderground.com
Please feel free to contact me directly at julmihaly@earthlink.net, and take a look at some of the other pieces that have been posted on the site to get a feel for the magazine's tone. I think you're perfect as a contributor. Hope to hear from you soon, and all best!- Julie

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