At nearly 57 y.o., I clicked “enroll”

DSC00929Near my 57th birthday 

On Friday, August 22, 2014, I clicked “enroll” for my first university class toward a degree. I’ve participated in other college classes – SFCC, UNM, UCLA.

My life

I married young, had a child, divorced young. I married two more times, divorced both of those losers. Throughout all this, I had to work full time to support myself, my son. I had set-backs, loads of them. I lost or sold a lot in every move, every divorce. Then I lost nearly everything in the Minot flood of 2011.

My family

I moved from Delaware to New Mexico to North Dakota to support my military son and his family. I left a lot of myself behind, each time.

I tried 

Throughout my life, I tried to go to school. English and Sign Language classes at Santa Fe Community College, a few art classes at UNM, some writing classes through UCLA Extension.

I’ve researched and studied a bunch of subjects that interested me. I’ve studied languages – from Arabic to Welsh. Through online classes, I’ve studied archeology and forensic science. I’ve read loads of books on sales and marketing, writing, editing, proofreading, publishing…

I’ve done a bunch of genealogical research – Wales, the Welsh people, Pennsylvania, coal mining…

A firstBeavers

August 22, 2014 – I enrolled for my first degree class at Minot State University. When I clicked “enroll,” I actually teared up. An MSU rep was standing by, and she gave me a high five. I told her I was a grandma. I think maybe she hugged me.

It’s gonna take me a while

I may be 75 y.o. by the time I have a diploma, but right now, that does not matter. I made a step. A step toward a degree.

I’m a student! I’m enrolled!

It’s never too late

One of the presenters made a comment that they (at MSU) don’t want us there until we’re 65. I talked to her after her presentation, and I told her I might still be there at 65 and beyond. But that’s okay.

Because it’s never too late.

dominoesThis is my right time

I’m right where I should be. The dominoes are falling gently into place.


Filed under Personal Articles

23 responses to “At nearly 57 y.o., I clicked “enroll”

  1. So delighted for you, Karen. And how are your classes going?

  2. GOOD for YOU. If not now, when? This makes me smile. ❤ ❤

  3. Hope you are getting credit for life experiences. Some schools do that and you have certainly earned you PhD in life. Go woman go.

  4. Go Karen!!!
    You’ll be 75 in 20 years anyhow, so what if you are still in school? You will be the inspiration to many if so! I say More Power To You!!!

  5. This post makes me so happy. I am so pleased you did it! There is nothing more satisfying than working toward a dream, It doesn’t matter how long it takes as long as you make a start.Right now you are my hero!

  6. Stacy S. Jensen

    This is great news Karen. Glad you enrolled. It will be exciting, fun and a homework filled adventure.

  7. You know I wish you nothing but Good Luck but I’m quite sure you won’t need luck for this, you’ll sail through it. You’re a very determined young lady.
    xxx Massive Hugs xxx

  8. karenrsanderson

    Better late than never! Classes are going well, Intro to Lit. Class is fun so far. I don’t think I get credit for life experiences, but those experiences will certainly help in the long run.

  9. I am very happy for you, Karen!

  10. Audrey Keith

    Good for you! In 20 years you’ll be nearly 77, whether you go to school or not. This way you’ll have your degree(s), but I’m sure it won’t take you that long. Enjoy!

  11. Love the story but most of all, I love the dominoes falling softly into place…so natural, so right for where the road has brought you.

  12. Oh, Karen, I’ve seen you work and struggle and still be so generous in your dealings with others. I’m really proud of you and really happy for you. It DOES feel like the dominoes are falling into place, doesn’t it?

  13. Another benefit of going back to school that you may not realize yet: you will bring such a wealth of experience to the classroom that most of the students can’t begin to bring. Having older students in her classes really turned my daughter around in her early years at the community college. She saw it wasn’t just Mom saying education was important and she loved the insights they shared in class. You will bring the same kind of perspective to the classes you are in.

  14. Paul Billyk

    That’s the best thing you can do. Keep the mind alive. Keep it moving. Look at new things. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes because you’ll be able to figure it out.

  15. karenrsanderson

    I truly have the best TRIBE ever. You blog-following guys are always so supportive. I’d like to get a degree in less than 20 years, but with one class at a time (three credits each, creeping along), it’s gonna take a while. Funny thing, Esther – I’ve already met a few ‘kids’ in the class that have me agog! Their reading experience (a lot of classics I haven’t read), has me wanting to sit next to them in class. Though my 57-year-old insights might have a few of them jumping in the next few months. Thank you all so much for your support and your comments.

  16. Amity

    Karen, what a lovely, insightful and inspiring blog post. I’m really excited for you and this next phase of your journey.

  17. I think you are magnificent. Congratulations on taking the next step, and for all the dominoes falling gently into place. You give hope to anyone going through a chaotic time in their life. Love you!

  18. Ilil Arbel

    It’s wonderful that you realize that age has nothing to do with learning. And if I may predict, you will finish your first degree long before you are 75, but when you reach 75 you might be writing your Ph.D. dissertation. Why not? What is life without learning?

  19. Oh Karen ! I just got on-line after a cross country move, and missed so much being computer-less. But this post — well, this post was the only one I’m really sorry I missed until now. It gave me goosebumps and immense happiness. You are a one-and-only special woman, and I wish you wonderful learning years ahead. I must say, you could probably teach the other students (and teacher) quite a lot in return.

    • karenrsanderson

      I’m excited about your move, selfishly – you will be nearby when I’m in Delaware next June for our Word Sharks Conference. Your spot is reserved! I hope the move went smoothly…? I’m learning already. Learning that I love working and going to school at MSU! I don’t know about teaching…well, maybe – editing and proofreading!

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