Will I Ever Finish a degree

Hello. I am 47 and trying to fulfill my dream of completing my bachelors degree. I just attempted to take 2 eight week late start classes at my university and dropped one online class then just didn’t go to my final because I couldn’t find enough time to study. I also had an essay to write and I stressed over it the entire time telling myself I’ll start the essay and when it came down to the writing process I failed. It was too overwhelming. I can memorize 100 systems of the human body but to compose an essay is the death of this semester. I’ll have a W for one class and an F in the other😕 I have a 40+ hour work week as a nanny of 2 one year old twins. My own son is now a sophomore in college and I would think it’s the perfect time for me to do my own thing and get this degree done.

13 Replies

  • I hope so, have you ask for help to the teachers and counselors? please let me know

  • I hear your struggle! Writing for my scattered mind can be very challenging. It is one of the reasons that I am an academic life coach and experienced in supporting college students so they complete degrees! Let me know if you want to chat. YOU CAN FINISH!!

  • Thank you for your reply! I am encouraged when I see total strangers give advice! I have thought about a life coach, because I literally feel I need someone by my side that is not a family member that doesn't get me at all. My family doesn't get my struggles and sometimes I feel they think I'm being too dramatic and always have a problem. Actually, my mom has literally said that to me, causing me to question myself more about pursuing a college education. How would you suggest making it a priority to get a life coach? I have priced them out and they can be pricey in the Denver, COlorado area. One was $99 the other $165 per hour. But, if its something that would benefit my life, it may be worth looking into. I guess my problem with meeting new counselors for the first time is actually getting to the correct point of what I actually need and I don't think they get how desperate I am to be understood.

  • Hello! You've been great at sharing what you are experiencing in your replies to other people. I do understand and feel your struggle. I work virtually with most of my clients and as a coach, we partner to create a plan you design with accountability and step-by-step planning. We look closely at your personal triggers that move you off track and work closely with inner and hidden motivations that impact your efforts too.

    Additionally, I am trained in a variety of study strategies so that your strengths and/or the type of course content influence the approach. You are in control of what the plan looks like, how you want to be held accountable, with most students including weekly sessions or mini-checkins.

    The pricing you mentioned is pretty consistent from what I charge, with a semester package providing the most cost effective approach. Actually, the cost of failing a class or paying for a class that you end up withdrawing from is expensive too. As you find the rhythm of succeeding in challenging courses more often, your confidence will grow and you will be stronger mentally in managing distractions and balancing life's demands.

    Best to you!

  • Have you notified your schools disability services that you have ADD and/or ADHD? They can make accommodations for you. You’ll need your doctor to write your diagnosis on a script. I’m dealing with the same thing, I hope to return to school sometime in 2018.

  • YES! You can do this!!! The Disability Resource Center was extremely helpful for my test anxiety. At 75, I finally finished the BA I started in 1960. YOU CAN DO THIS but take it slowly. One class per term. Online classes are SO MUCH harder because there is a tremendous amount of reading and writing, and not every professor uses\d the same process, which was stressful. For me, campus classes worked much better because I could ask questions. Maybe a night class for you, if no time during day?

    Take your time and try to enjoy the process. For me, it took 3 times longer to do everything, but once I accepted and planned for that, I was ok. When doing homework and tests at DRC, take lots of breaks. Close your eyes... try yoga breathing to calm yourself in mini-breaks.

    If you need help with writing, there is support for that. Ask an advisor.

    Good luck... YOU CAN DO THIS. Slow down so you enjoy the process. Be proud of what you are doing!!!

  • I really appreciate your comment! I think I replied to another post on your comment, as well. I think my main problem is fearing that I'm getting older, running out of time, already been doing this for so long and then I rush into decisions that don't serve me. I have a hard time accepting that I do need extra time to study and learn and especially when I'm working full-time. If only I could work less and study more. I'm trying to figure out how to make that work. Also, I enjoy free time to recharge and rest, and the constant stress of studying causes me to not want to at all. I just wish I had a better process for everything. I have a desk in my bedroom where I try to be studious, but it doesn't always work. Since my son moved away for college, I'm left with 5 pets to take care of and I continually feel that when I'm at home trying to study, they are all trying to get my attention as well. I find that distracting. I think I want to pursue becoming a veterinarian which will include ALOT of science and chemistry which I have no idea how I will do in those classes. I think I need to learn to accept what I am and not be so embarrassed when I need help from the school services because I am A) older B) should have my life together C) have continued to drop classes due to my own issues.

  • I feel the same way. I'm a bit younger than you--in my 30s, but I've been struggling with this since my 20s, and the struggle seems to get worse with time.

    I feel like one of the reasons it's getting harder is because of my relationship with time. I have this idea of where I want to be when I'm ___ age, etc, etc. And most of my friends are educated, which makes me feel the pressure even more. Additionally, I've always gotten very positive feedback from profs/instructor when I complete my work. The problem is that I can almost never complete my work.

    I'd love to talk to you more about this. Since your feelings about it are so similar to mine, perhaps we can find a way to help one another. Like many of us, I can't afford a life coach, but sometimes just having someone to make a plan with can help.

    PM me if you want. :)

  • Yes, I have been to the Access Center on my campus, where I did received a partial accommodation while I was still working with the campus psychiatrist. He took about six visits to make sure I had ADHD before he diagnosed me and gave me a prescription for concerta. That was earlier this year in the spring semester, I ended up handing in two very bad essays, but the professors must have pitied me, because I managed to pass. I know not all professors will be that lenient and this time with my Ethics essay, I just couldn't get it done. I lacked planning to get to the campus, my work life was crazy ( I had to do overnights and stay extended hours when the parents were both traveling) and I didnt even get back to the access center to check in with my counselor because I continue to think I can do this on my own, when in fact, I have a problem that I can't continue to fool myself about. I've never done well in school, I was expelled from high school for non-attendance, but then graduated from an alternative high school. I already have 65 college credits (I've already been attending college for 20 years!!!). I've never reached out to the disability center, for lack of knowing they were there and not knowing I had a problem. Even still, its hard to go and meet with them because I feel I'm a smart, grown, adult and can manage life. But, life, work, and college how I do it, just isnt getting me closer to graduation.

  • dear stjim:

    I'm 48 and this spring will mark 4 years since I completed my Masters and 5 since I completed my BA, both in accounting. In writing to you to tell you yes, you can do it. I did. And that was before I was diagnosed with ADHD. And I did this while working full time, during my divorce while I was raising two children alone and fighting with my ex and going through a financial tsunami. I attended school full time in the evenings in an accelerated adult learner program that consisted of 8 week semesters. And I graduated magna cum laude. It can be done

    I personally would not recommend online classes to someone ADHD because of the lack of in person accountability however I also took several myself. For me, the key was to treat them like a regular class and "attend" them on schedule, usually logging in and doing my work at the library. I would pick a night if the week that was class night and then we would pack up and head to the library so I could "attend" class.

    I used a lot of tricks and tips to help me. I put everything on my calendar with reminders. I set up a google calendar for all my kids stuff, work things and then had a layer for school stuff. That calendar did - and still does- rule my life and my family knows if it isn't there, it doesn't exist. Most professors provide a pretty detailed schedule on their syllabus so you just put it all on the calendar and set reminders. From there I would work backwards, blocking evenings for study for tests, projects etc. it's simple. If you have a test scheduled for Thursday, clearly you will be blocking out time on Wed to study. And Tues too!

    For projects and papers I broke them down too. I know how to do this (and have really good organizational skills.). If this is an area where you need help, meet with your professor and/or the learning center, possibly the disabilities counseling office, to have them help you. Then you schedule that too. Remember, it isn't the choice of calendar that does this, it's you sticking with it. I use a computer based calendar because I used to be a secretary and calendaring was a big part of my job. I was comfortable setting up a fairly complex layered personal calendar system in Google. But you can use a paper calendar you got for free from the bank if you like. The important thing is USING IT. So then I would again work backwards. Paper due May 7 so rough draft due April 27. Then the previous three--four weeks are writing, week before that is outline, week before that is research notecards etc. These got scheduled so I could make sure I was on track.

    I tried to set up a couple of homework places. The public library was close to my house so I used that a lot. Plus the school library. Homework at home was at the kitchen table. It helped to remain consistent about this and not doing homework in bed or on the couch because that's also where I relax or sleep and it was too easy to become derailed. My mind works better when I set the tone and stage physically, meaning training myself that "here's your homework spot" and consistently using it. Between that and scheduling it created a good pattern for me and my inattentive mind to follow. Routines are important. As a nanny you know that. I'm sure you have a bedtime or wake up routine for the kids you care for - apply these rules to you and your schooling.

    I'm happy to talk to you about this if you like. Trust me, I understand. I've been there. You CAN do this.

  • Took me ten years to get my BSC, took me ; years for my MD, now 38 and studying to pass my USMLE exam. Never give up, go at your own speed. Read out loud helps to remember and surround yourself with positive people. You will graduate, even if you do at a later date. Best of luck to you, and thank you for sharing your story.

  • Thank you for sharing your experience! I think living with my mother really affects me because she is generally negative towards me. But, I’m looking into a Adhd life coach hopefully that will help! Good luck on your future testing and medical career!!

  • Holy Moses how I have found my peeps today! I have started by BS in Psych (gee what a shocker!) and at 52 I have 2 courses to go. I think I could perform open-heart surgery better than I could write an essay. The mental deliberation is exhausting! I think it comes down to perfectionism. Please know you are so not alone! My best to you! Lori