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Online class offers way to return to college

 

So after years of “thinking” about it, I finally took the plunge. I am once again a college student.  I signed up for an online course in Survey of the Old Testament at Hinds this spring. I’m planning to take New Testament over the summer.

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I am considering enrolling in a master’s degree program this fall. But for now I’m not looking too far ahead. I’m just enjoying the course I’m taking. Yes, enjoying. I’m one of “those people.”

I always wanted to get a master’s degree but between working hard and bringing up a couple of daughters, the time never seemed right.

But if not now, then when, right?

I’ve had some good influences around me. A lot of the Hinds staff I work with already have master’s degrees. I’ve been envious of our office manager, who’s working on her master’s in business at night after working all day.  Although I’m not particularly envious of the late nights she’s staying up studying, her dedication and perseverance have been an inspiration.

So what’s it like being a college student again after about, gulp, 30 years?

Well, for starters, I’ve had a lot of anxiety about it. Sure, I’m taking an undergraduate prerequisite and not a master’s level class. But I’m quite a bit older than I was the last time I took a class. I don’t retain new information as well as I used to so I have to read, and re-read, and re-read.

I’ve never taken an online class before. I wasn’t sure that format would appeal to me. After all, I enjoyed the give-and-take of a rousing classroom discussion. So far, early in the semester, I like it. I can sort of do the work at my own pace, within reason, as long as I make the deadlines outlined in the course syllabus.  I’m finding the instructions really easy to follow. And, my classmates don’t see me completing assignments in my jammies.

Finding time to study is challenging. I work full-time and take care of my 5-year-old granddaughter three nights a week while her mother works, never mind the usual housework, pet care and church activities – all the things a busy adult has going on. So far I’ve managed by spending lunch hours in our office break room over a sandwich and a textbook and snatching bits of time before bedtime. I’ll have to be a lot more structured and disciplined though if I continue on.

While most people probably think higher education is for the 18-year-olds just out of high school, the average age at Hinds is 26.7, and I see lots of gray-headed grandparents at graduation. (No gray here – I color mine.)

For anybody who’s been thinking about enrolling at Hinds, summer and fall registration for new students opens April 15.  And for a simple how-to, go to our web site here: http://hub.hindscc.edu/download-your-checklist-for-success--hinds/

Cathy Hayden, a former education reporter, is Public Relations director at Hinds Community College.

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