Ph.D After 50

My Experiences in Graduate School as a Student in her 50s


Ph.D After 50

“Hey Mom, Do You Still Have My Shot Record?”

“Hey mom….do you still have my shot record?”

I distinctly remember the day I phoned my 80 year old mother and asked her if she could still find my shot record from childhood. I also clearly remember her laugh and expression of credulity. “Are you kidding me? No, I don’t know where your shot record is. I have no idea!”

Sigh…

Just like every other student beginning academic studies at a new institution, I needed to prove that I was good and immunized. NOT like most new students, my immunization record was well…lost forever… placed in the “well, we will never need this again” round file or mislaid in the many moves made by my mom and dad. All was not lost, however, a trip to the doctor and a blood titration test could solve the issue. There was only one problem with this scenario in my mind, my doctor was my age and my good friend. I taught his daughters in middle school. I dreaded the encounter. I could here him now, “So, hmmm….you’re going back to school are you?” This trip to his office would be interesting…..

As my doctor friend walked into the examination room, his Disney character tie leading the way, the smirk on his face told the whole story. “So you’re here for your school immunizations are you?” at which time the little smirky smile turned into full on laughter. “Yes, yes, I am. You can stop laughing now!” I replied half adamant and one hundred percent embarrassed. “I’ve decided to get my master’s in History at Tech.” My friend continued, his words coming out just above Mickey’s head, “Well, what made you decide to do that?” I thought about it for a twinkling of a second and replied, “Because I want to do it.”

Yes, because I wanted to do it. Encouraged by my daughter, who had just finished her master’s in English and who knew I dreamed of going back to school, I applied, was accepted and began my journey as a graduate school student in her fifties.

That was three years ago. I now have a master’s in history and am working towards an interdisciplinary PhD. I encountered much support and encouragement along the way. I also experienced many new “firsts” and intense academic challenges. In this blog, I will share some of my experiences from the past, as well as, current thoughts on being a graduate school student in her fifties.

Master's graduation picture

At my master’s graduation with two of my grandchildren


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