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Old 01-02-2017, 08:59 PM   #21
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Labored through a couple of technical degrees. Just like w*rk, I'm more than done. Actually, I'm probably done with all formal educational, w*rk, volunteer, etc commitments. For once in my life, I want to do what I want, when I want to do it, and how I want to do it.

I always loved learning, even in school and w*rk. I love learning even more now! I'm trying to read at least one nonfiction book every week. So I guess I'm still goal oriented, but am having the time of my life. I love the excitement of walking into the local library every week seeking more written treasures absorb!
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Old 01-02-2017, 09:08 PM   #22
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It's interesting to me that you want to get a "degree".

If you want to do something that requires that degree (like other's mentioned practicing law) a formal degree makes some sense. But if you are interested in learning there are so many other approaches available to you as someone with time and financial independence.

Or maybe you want the structure of it all?
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Old 01-02-2017, 10:02 PM   #23
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I've enrolled in a few classes to follow up on personal interests but see no reason to go after another degree.
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Old 01-03-2017, 12:44 AM   #24
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Not sure what I'll do with the degree.
If I were you, I would clarify this before committing to the time and expense involved.
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Old 01-03-2017, 09:06 AM   #25
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Looking for Experience Shares

Thanks for the feedback.

Just to clarify, most of the replies in the thread have addressed the question of whether I should or should not enroll in the degree program. Most of those replies were based on the repliers own situation and/or interests or their own preconceived notions of why someone would want to pursue an advanced degree. As I stated in the initial post, I am actually already enrolled and am beginning classes in fall so am not particularly interested in whether people who don't know me from Adam think I should or shouldn't.

Instead of asking for advice on whether I should do this, or if this is right for me, my question was if others have taken this plunge or have considered it? Were they successful, did they run into particular challenges as a retired graduate student, etc? Cheers.
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Old 01-03-2017, 02:44 PM   #26
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Thanks for the feedback.

Just to clarify, most of the replies in the thread have addressed the question of whether I should or should not enroll in the degree program. Most of those replies were based on the repliers own situation and/or interests or their own preconceived notions of why someone would want to pursue an advanced degree. As I stated in the initial post, I am actually already enrolled and am beginning classes in fall so am not particularly interested in whether people who don't know me from Adam think I should or shouldn't.

Instead of asking for advice on whether I should do this, or if this is right for me, my question was if others have taken this plunge or have considered it? Were they successful, did they run into particular challenges as a retired graduate student, etc? Cheers.
I went back to school following a layoff in 2005. FI in the sense that I wouldn't be homeless, but not living at a level in retirement I'd like. So I don't quite fit your retired spec. I was 45 and pursued a PhD in engineering (finished it at 50), so I was the non traditional student. I was treated great by students and profs alike, perhaps because I was unique, perhaps because I did the work and didn't whine or expect any special treatment. Note that I had a full scholarship plus stipend, so I was effectively taking a low paying job. My expectation was that I'd be able to teach at a less than full time level for a modest income and health insurance, and it would depend on how things went financially. As luck would have it, I was very heavy in stocks going into the late 2000s, so when I finished I was not in as good a financial shape as when I started.

Fast forward to today, I didn't bail on the market and enjoyed the run up. I am now much more diversified with a much bigger nest egg. I work at a University in a research role, and I've taught a couple of undergraduate college classes and found it to be less enjoyable than I'd hoped. But the non teaching side is fine, I deal primarily with grad students as an informal adviser (they WANT to be here and work!, unlike many of the UG students who just want a diploma and a job). Two years ago I was able to cut my hours to 80% FTE, maintain the same salary and health insurance. I'd be comfortable REing today at almost 57 except for health insurance. I expected to qualify for a great HI at 60 but that got changed due to increased qualifications in the state retirement plan. I'm now watching the incoming administration to see how things will shake out. I do have the option to pay full price through DW's retirement, which I would do if I was 100% confident it wouldn't go away (a possibility they have discussed).

Would I do it again? You bet. I have about 60 (mostly) students working for me, and the respect I get for completing the degree they're working towards as an old guy is tremendous (I also published much more than the minimum and my work would likely have been patentable, though not financially lucrative, so it wasn't pursued). My boss is a very busy dean who has confidence in me and leaves me alone, but is available if needed. When I leave, the position will most likely be taken by someone half my age without the common sense gained by many years of experience, due to the modest salary. The main reasons for considering retiring are to move, and to not put up with the admin BS that I have to do. It's not a lot, but anything is too much.

The first year was tough due to getting the classes out of the way, some with prerequisites over 25 years in the rearview mirror. The last year was tough because it was ALL writing. I hate writing, I'm a technical guy. The middle 3 were technically challenging and not stressful. I was definitely well prepared for it having worked on similar types of problems throughout my career as a consultant, however there was not the stress level of finding an immediate, perfect solution.

I say go for it, you can always stop if you change your mind. When I look at the alternative of getting another job at that time, it doesn't compare. I don't think of myself as craving status, but I do get a kick out of being in my usual t shirt and jeans and being introduced as Dr. Oldphd. I'm not kissing anything or looking to move up, as most would be in this role. I just do what I think is right, and if/when my boss decides he wants me to go, I'm OK with that.
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Old 01-04-2017, 09:25 PM   #27
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Oldphd, thanks for the experience share! Wow, congrats on completing the program and getting your research position.

I am 47 and will be 51 when I finish my program (it should be a 3 year program if all goes as planned), so similar ages to you. I've taught a bit at the school I'll be attending but it's been 4 years since I taught my last class. I like teaching ok but am mainly interested in the research and writing aspects of the degree.

After finishing I will likely pursue some kind of faculty position for a few years and will try to get some publishing done. Not sure if it will be a FT or PT gig and preferably it will be research oriented with only a bit of teaching, if any. I hear those types of positions are mainly funded by grants instead of directly by the university. Is that your experience?

I've had 4 years of ER but never considered ER for myself to be just a few decades of navel-gazing followed by assisted living. For me it has been an opportunity to pursue a number of challenging and interesting experiences that working folks just don't have the option to pursue. It's a good life! :-)

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Old 01-05-2017, 12:36 AM   #28
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I don't need to prove anything to myself, or to anybody else. I don't have any practical use for another degree, because I am FI and have no intention of ever working again.
I have thought about going back. I like learning. I like school. I have 3 degrees (B.A. - political science, J.D. and M.S.W.). I earned my MSW degree as a part-time student while working full time as an attorney. I never have actually used that degree in work although it has been useful to me in many other ways.

Anyway, the reason I would get a degree is not to prove anything to myself or to anyone else and not to practically use it. I just sort of feel that if I was going to do the work to learn something I want the "credit" for having learned it. I want the course credit and if I get that then if I am interested enough in the subject I would want the degree.

At my age I am not sure, though, that I could get into a graduate program of any type. Normally a school would want people in a graduate program intended to work many years in that field. At 62, that isn't me. In fact, I'm not sure I would work at all (if I did, it would be for fun not the money and not full-time).

I guess I could go to one of the for-profit schools but I don't want to pay for that. I would want to do a state school and I can't see a graduate program in any subject admitting me. And, at this point most of the programs I might be interested in are in fields that I have no educational background (when I did my MSW degree I did part-time undergrad courses for 2 years to get the background I needed for apply to grad school).
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Old 01-05-2017, 07:08 AM   #29
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I have thought about going back. I like learning. I like school. I have 3 degrees (B.A. - political science, J.D. and M.S.W.). I earned my MSW degree as a part-time student while working full time as an attorney. I never have actually used that degree in work although it has been useful to me in many other ways.
Yep, I don't have three degrees but I love school also.

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At my age I am not sure, though, that I could get into a graduate program of any type. Normally a school would want people in a graduate program intended to work many years in that field. At 62, that isn't me. In fact, I'm not sure I would work at all (if I did, it would be for fun not the money and not full-time).
I've been researching graduate programs for about 18 months, from sociology, history, economics (my educational background). I've heard several stories of PhD students starting in their 60's and even in their 70's at traditional schools (not the for-profits). But, all the ones I've heard of are paying their own tuition--no stipends or scholarships. I'm paying my own way also. It is worth it to me.
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Old 01-05-2017, 07:44 AM   #30
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My brother in law was a the classic MBA management consultant road warrier. He decided to pursue a doctorate in business and found a program that was partially online - which worked for him since he was spending blocks of time in other countries. He structured his work commitments around the in-person portion of his program. He was in his late 50's when he got the doctorate. One of his motivations was that his mother had always wanted this for him. (His dad had had a PhD and she'd been a PhD candidate at Berkeley when she got pregnant... and never went back to finish it.)

Now he's teaching and is a doctoral adviser, and taking on very few road warrior gigs. He *loves* teaching. He's a very good writer and loves helping students with their dissertations and theses. He was given the same advice/editing help from my step mom- who was a teacher/grad adviser for nursing students until she finally stopped 2 years ago at age 87. (It's very hard to stop teaching as a PhD nurse educator - there aren't enough and they kept enticing her with "just one more term".)

My sister loves that he's home more, loves his work, and less stressed in his new teaching role. He's openly stated he'll channel my stepmom in working part time as long as he enjoys it and they'll have him... till he's old and gray.
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Old 01-05-2017, 08:12 AM   #31
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I have several degrees and they all seemed like a lot of work to me. But if you would enjoy getting your doctorate, why not pursue it? Learning is often fun if you don't focus on a financial payback. If you think it would be a "chore" don't do it.
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Old 01-05-2017, 09:45 AM   #32
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Thanks for the feedback.

Instead of asking for advice on whether I should do this, or if this is right for me, my question was if others have taken this plunge or have considered it? Were they successful, did they run into particular challenges as a retired graduate student, etc? Cheers.
Well...here is my story. I retired and have been thoroughly enjoying it. I have no intention of coming out of retirement...but...

For many years, I was interested in law school. While in the Air Force, I gave consideration to applying to the JAG program but decided that flying airplanes was far more interesting than practicing law; so I kept flying and forgot about law school. Fast forward to more recent times and after retiring, I decided that I could go to law school and not worry about getting a j*b after the fact and I did just that.

I am now 1/2 way done with the degree and overall think it has been a good experience. Of course, there are pros and cons, but the pros have far outweighed the cons. I will describe some of the issues below:

- I am a non-traditional student attending a full time day program. That means that I am older than most of the students and I am the same age of some of the professors; this was an eye-opener for sure. When you get used to being around people that are the same age group and have been doing something *very different* than attending school professionally for many years, it comes as a shock. There have been countless conversations when some of the young students really illustrate their lack of knowledge or as I say, "they don't know what they don't know". Nonetheless, it has been entertaining and on occasion, I will learn something from the young whipper snappers.

- The administration can be a pain to deal with on occasion. I understand that they are dealing with young folks (but yet, they are ADULTS!) but some of the policies and how they go about handling things is very infuriating to me. I have lots and LOTS of examples, so I will only bore you with one example. At my school, they decided that first year (full time only) students would have to attend monthly "professionalism seminars". Initially, I went to one but it was anything *but* professional, so I stopped going. And like clockwork, when they had one that I didn't attend, I would get an email sanctioning my transgression. I asked the admin about this policy (that was not made as a condition of graduation or disclosed when I signed up for the program) and they only say, "it's mandatory...if you don't go, we *might* have to tell the state bar about it and it could impact you ability to take the bar exam". Well, no, no it won't...but keep up with your threats. So, yeah..there is some BS you have to deal with.

- Schedule. This has been the hardest for me. It's a full time program, so I have classes 4 days a week. Thankfully, the school isn't too far away and I can avoid the bad traffic times, but I still don't like being on a schedule. Thankfully, attendance isn't a great concern, so if I am "just not feeling it", I can skip.

- Grades. Initially, I was concerned about this. Sure, I wanted to learn (that is the point, RIGHT?) but I didn't want have to be stuck with a large amount of studying and I had heard that law school means a LOT of studying. Well, there is a lot to learn. There is a lot to read. And yes, there is a lot to study...BUT, here's the awesome part: You don't really ever fail out of law school. That's right; students really don't fail classes. As a matter of fact, most students treat getting a "C" as a failing grade..but for me, "C's get degrees!". What happens is that students compete, Compete, and COMPETE about everything. So, they are doing everything to be in the "top 10%" to get the best j*bs. Well, for folks like me, who don't really care about getting good grades or competing that means you don't have to try very hard. Another bonus of law school is that your grade is usually based on a single exam at the end of a course. Nonetheless, I seem to have been getting pretty good grades, even though my studying has been minimal.


So...all in all, I would do it again. I am still undecided as to if I will take the bar exam or not. That whole ordeal is a huge pain and I am just not sure that I would even practice law. I have thought about the good I could do with being licensed, but just not sure if I am *that* motivated.
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Old 01-05-2017, 10:05 AM   #33
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ExFlyBoy5....

Are you sure about the Cs I know when I was getting my MBA that if you had 4 Cs you were out of the program...


With this thread I just looked at PhD program at local U.... and it has the same policy...


Now, one policy that caught my eye.... the 99 hour cap!!! Yes, if you take more than 99 hours of PhD classes you will not get the in state rate going forward!!! Who wants to be going that long to get a PhD?
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Old 01-05-2017, 10:12 AM   #34
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Just from what I can see for a PhD in my field....

Less than half of the credits you need are 'classes'... you know, where you are in a class and are taught by someone.... the rest seems to be research or some other type of 'non-classes'.... with 3 years of 'research' at a minimum after your 'classes and non-classes'....


Not something that I am interested in doing...

I was also very surprised that every one of the Dr students in accounting were foreign!!! (well, foreign sounding names at least)....
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Old 01-05-2017, 10:19 AM   #35
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ExFlyBoy5....

Are you sure about the Cs I know when I was getting my MBA that if you had 4 Cs you were out of the program...
Yep. This is pretty universal in law school; The only minimum is to maintain a 2.0 GPA. As a matter of fact, several law schools don't really do grades at all, they grade as "Scholar, Honors, Pass, Low Pass and Fail" but where less than 1% of students get a "Fail".

Of course, law school is a much different animal than a PhD program; especially in the fact that there is no dissertation to deal with.
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Old 01-05-2017, 10:22 AM   #36
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For many years, I was interested in law school. While in the Air Force, I gave consideration to applying to the JAG program but decided that flying airplanes was far more interesting than practicing law; so I kept flying and forgot about law school. Fast forward to more recent times and after retiring, I decided that I could go to law school and not worry about getting a j*b after the fact and I did just that.

I am now 1/2 way done with the degree and overall think it has been a good experience. Of course, there are pros and cons, but the pros have far outweighed the cons.
Kudos, ExFlyBoy. Thanks for chiming in with your experiences. Sounds like we have similar motivations--mostly we want to self-improve and also accomplish something that's been in the back of our minds for a long time.

I'm curious, if you don't mind, how old were you when you started the program?

When I taught as a PT lecturer at a university, I was driven mad by all the silly administrivia. But, it just is part of the package I guess.
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Old 01-05-2017, 10:25 AM   #37
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ExFlyBoy5....

Are you sure about the Cs I know when I was getting my MBA that if you had 4 Cs you were out of the program...


With this thread I just looked at PhD program at local U.... and it has the same policy...


Now, one policy that caught my eye.... the 99 hour cap!!! Yes, if you take more than 99 hours of PhD classes you will not get the in state rate going forward!!! Who wants to be going that long to get a PhD?
Most of the programs I've looked at also require no grades lower than a B or a limited number below a B.

Also, you are right that with most PhD programs the first 2 years or so is all the official course work and the last x number of years is largely research and dissertation writing. But apparently specific program structure varies a lot depending on the field.
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Old 01-05-2017, 10:25 AM   #38
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I have an advanced degree. I started on a second one years ago and never finished. I do not think I could go back now. Kuods to you. Have fun!
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Old 01-05-2017, 10:30 AM   #39
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Kudos, ExFlyBoy. Thanks for chiming in with your experiences. Sounds like we have similar motivations--mostly we want to self-improve and also accomplish something that's been in the back of our minds for a long time.

I'm curious, if you don't mind, how old were you when you started the program?
Not a problem! I retired at the end of 2014 at 40 years old and started school the following year not much longer after turning 41. In my section (about 60 students), there are 3 of us that are 40 or older.

I don't regret it at all, and the time has really flown by. One other thing I didn't mention is the *joy* I get out of the process of learning. Traditionally, you learn something because you HAVE TO. When it's something you are doing and it's not mandatory; it comes much easier. I don't know that I will being saying the same for a couple of courses that I start next week, "Sales and Secured Transactions as well as Business Organizations"...those subjects don't interest me much at all!
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Old 01-05-2017, 10:47 AM   #40
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I could never even entertain the idea of going through another round of graduate school. It was very competitive, and stressful. The payback would be nil.
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