Monday, January 24, 2011

Age Discrimination

I was worried about starting college at 31.  I figured that I would be the oldest student in my classes, and that only the professors would be older than I am.  I wasn't far off. 

I have 2 classes where the instructor is older than myself.
I have 2 classes in which the instructor is close to my age, but won't actually give us a number, but based on certain aspects of their personality and mentality, I would say that one is probably older and the other younger than myself.
I have one class, where my instructor is 28 and working towards her PH.D.  Out of the 5 classes that I am taking, I only have 1 fellow student who is older than me.  Ouch.  Thankfully no one has asked me where my walker or depends were.

On the other hand, I have quickly learned that colleges discriminate.  They assume that all of their students will fit into this mold, and then they are shocked when they don't.

One particular business class that I am taking is helping to prepare students to enter the workforce.  I'm 30 years old, I have been there, entered that, several years ago.  I have had two separate careers, without a college degree.  When I was first out of high school, I worked for a crop insurance company.  I started out doing data entry, and then moved up to an underwriter.  I worked for several different companies over the course of a few years, and loved it.  More than likely I would still be there if things had worked out differently at the last company I worked for. 

The second career is my current one.  I have worked in the bookkeeping, accounting field for the last 4 years.  This is what I am going back to college for.  I have had jobs, I have been offered jobs, I have gone to job fairs and career fairs.  I don't really need a refresher on how to behave.

Yet this class has told me that I have to participate.  I have to skip one of my other classes in order to go to a career fair and talk to recruiters.  Wow.  I haven't had to do that in a few years.  I guess right after I lost my job at the crop insurance company.  So I'm not really looking forward to do this again.

I understand that the majority of the students in that class need to learn these skills, I fully grasp that.  But to someone who has "been there, done that" it is a big waste of time, and I feel that I'm not learning anything from this class.

It also makes me wonder how many other things out there the discriminate against age. 

I'm sure, that before I'm through at Tech, I will run into this problem again.  But in this current economy, there are so many people going back to school, so that they will have a degree to give them an edge, I feel for them all.  Because at 30, I'm a minority because of my age and my life experiences.  I was married by the point that most of my classmates where in their lives.  I have witnessed my grandfather fight hallucinations and other aspects of Alzheimer's, I have seen my father, who seemed perfectly healthy have two heart attacks, I have fought with doctor's and specialists, so that I might have a child of my own.  Things that the rest of my classmates can't even imagine going through. 

Perhaps, colleges as well as other businesses need to re-evaluate their practices and adjust, because there are a few of the 18 year old's out there that have "been there, done that" too.

I'm not saying that I deserve special treatment, but perhaps colleges should realize that they need to adjust their way of thinking and gear programs and classes towards older students as well.  There would be a lot less hostility and a lot better odds of people completing their degree programs too.

1 comment:

  1. I remember (in high school) taking a few classes that helped me nothing, but I took them just so I could get a business diploma. I learned next to nothing but at least I felt like the smartest kid in the class :)

    Keep an eye on the goal line, it`ll be worth it.



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