Thursday, February 23, 2006

College Career Night and the Returning Student

Robin's Commentary

last night I had the privilege of attending a career fair dinner at the University of Oregon hosted by the U of O multicultural career alliance, U of O athletic department and U of O career Center. Sponsored by the U of O alumni Association.

In addition to guest speaker Jason Mayden footwear designer for Nike's "Jordan brand" shoes, there were numerous recruiters and representatives from AmeriCorps, Black & Decker, Enterprise Rentacar, Fred Meyer, Portland fire and rescue, Portland Police Department, Nike just to name a few.

The event was very well-organized and offered a great opportunity for students to network.

At my table, were representatives from Fred Meyer and James Chang, director career services for U of O College of Business.

Before dinner began and after the welcoming speeches, the employers were asked to line up and give a very short introduction and what they were looking for. It was not uncommon to hear "we are looking for young students to..."

Okay, before everybody start yelling at me saying that "yes Robin, of course they want younger graduates." It has just been my experiences with the local colleges and universities in this area that when a student tries to return to school for education, in addition to the normal everyday rigors of trying to keep up with your classes and financial needs, you also find yourself on the outside looking in because of your age.

I am finding it harder and harder to stay motivated to continue school because of all the barriers that I keep running into. For example, last term I had an adviser at the University of Oregon suggest that because of my age [I just turned 50] recommends that I quit while I am ahead.

This of course is in addition to my "lifetime attempt to credits" I have been fighting last year and a half.

For those who have not reached 50 yet, let me tell you, it is a very interesting time in your life. In addition to the sudden physical changes that happen to you, you start getting letters from AARP trying to recruit you. People start treating you as hippies did in their youth, "don't trust anybody over 30".

Nevertheless, the worst part of it all is you start feeling like an outsider. It becomes an obvious reminder that learning institutions are for the young.

however, beyond my little bitch and moan, I felt the event went really well and I really do hope to see the University host more of these type of events. it is a really great opportunity for students and employers to meet when they otherwise may not be able to do so.


Anonymous Gullyborg said...


You may be older, but you are still a knockout!

Don't get discouraged. It will all be worth it in the end, even if just for the personal satisfaction of completing something you started.

11:35 AM  
Blogger Robin said...

Thanks for the good words Gully.

is very hard not to be discouraged... but it's one of those things that the less you experience it, you really do not understand it.

By the way we think of "Senior citizens" as a complete other alien group, while we do not think that maybe one day a majority of us will become that group. is a shock to me.

it is a very difficult part in your life you suddenly realize that you're no longer young and you start counting the summers... it's even more difficult when you try to better your life and correct mistakes only to be turned away because of your age.

As for being worth it in the end... yes, I will be completing my Associates degree I fought for tooth and nail in two terms... continuation onto a bachelor's,... logic and emotion contradict each other on this issue.

in favor... education can open doors

Against... to quote the adviser at the University of Oregon, "you'll be spending another five years in school and accumulating another $80,000 in debt, in which case when you graduate at the age of 56, you will be $100,000 in debt for many years to come and will be working poor."

I have to admit that he makes a good argument.

So the question currently is, spend another five years of my life and $80,000 to stay in school, or spend that $80,000 towards buying another business.

finally, I'm getting VERY tired of having to FIGHT simply to get an education because I went to school 30 years ago.

Returning to school for me has been a huge mistake...

But the point of the article is twofold.

1) I wanted to give kudos to the University of Oregon for putting on such an event because it does open up opportunities that otherwise would not have been available to both students and businesses.

2) whether it was intentional or not, as an "older student", although I do appreciate being invited to attend the event, it just reminded me how out of place I really am there.

9:29 AM  
Anonymous gullyborg said...

take the debt.

form a corporation.

borrow capital to start your business.

pay yourself a salary bonus out of your capital to pay off your student loans.

let the corporation file bankruptcy.

your student loans, which are supposed to be bankruptcy-proof, are paid off through an indirect bankruptcy, and YOUR CREDIT IS UNTOUCHED.

people do this all the time.

not that I am endorsing this plan...

2:50 PM  
Blogger Robin said...

good idea, I could go to the college of Enron

8:28 AM  
Anonymous Laura said...

Gee, Robin, with people dying at 80 or so, that only gives us 30 years to accomplish something. Maybe Gullyborg has a point.

10:33 AM  
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