WOW! I'm SOOOOOOO Much OLDER!

  1. I don't know how some of the older folks on this board felt their first time going back to college but I just had to post on this. Today was my first day of nursing school going full-time during the day. Words cannot even describe how strange and out of place I felt today!!! I was the only "old" person in the entire classroom for most classes. There was only one course that actually had two more non-traditional students within them. Boy, to say that I felt awkward and so out of place, would be an understatement. How does an older student like me cope when you are sitting amidst young kids who are young enough to be your son or daughter??
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  2. 14 Comments

  3. by   Irene joy
    I'm kind of suprised you don't have any more 'older' students in your class! Evan though I'm just finishishing pre-reqs I've found that at least half or more of us, all going into healthcare programs, are young thirties to fiftyish. I guess I would just try to find some comman intrests with some of them, these will become more apparent as time goes on. The good thing is that age has nothing to do with personality. Iv'e had some great lab parters who were ten or fifteen years younger and we got along great, because we had similar interests. I don't know about you, but I tend to gravitate towards the hard workers, because thats how I am. Those of us that don't take our education for granted always get along well. I 'm sure you're in that catagory to be where you are today. Big congratulations for starting nursing school.Good luck!:spin:
  4. by   WDWpixieRN
    Wow, I'm also surprised you're not finding more of "our kind" in your classes! In my school, there are a little over 30 of us and I know for sure that one is older than me (I'm 51), and several are at least close in age. I'd bet the average class age to be at least 30-35, with a number of younger students thrown in. We lost quite a few of the younger ones very early on. We just started our second semester this week.

    How do you cope with it? Stay in touch with these boards -- that's helped me a LOT when I feel like someone in the clinical setting is looking at me like: "?!?!?!"

    Also, realize you will probably do much better than a lot of the younger kids and may end up mentoring quite a few of them. I ended up kind of by accident having a lab partner for checkoffs who's all of 24. She is my best friend in school, confidante, and the person I go to when I have questions about anything school-related and vice-versa. We are applying for internships together and I am so happy she is there.

    I think the biggest solution to your problem is to know it's not a problem for YOU. If someone else has a problem, it's theirs not yours. Their loss if they choose to make age an issue!!
  5. by   Lori RN_09_2b
    Hi! I can SOOO relate! I know a lot of programs have a large number of nontraditional students but mine only had one--ME. Most of the rest were right out of high school with a few in their mid to later twenties, but still at least fifteen years younger, with the exception of one guy that's only eight years younger. I can't tell you how out of place I felt at first.

    What helped me was first getting to know--and get really close to--one of the younger women because we were both looking for a study partner. Having that one closer relationship helped me relax enough in class that I've been able to open up and be myself, surprising most of the students because they've realized that I'm much younger than my chronological age! For me, it's meant being more of myself than I was back in my early twenties, so it's a positive experience. Now I feel I have lots of friends in the program, and that age isn't an issue. Keep in mind, too, that as you go through the program and do skills labs, etc., you get to be almost like a family and age isn't an issue there, either.

    It'll probably take a little time for the other students to feel that you're not there in a "motherly" role. Just do whatever you can to prove that you're still young on the inside. (BTW, just watching some of the younger ones has really reinforced that I wouldn't go back to being nineteen for anything!)

    Good luck to you! Keep us posted on how things are working out for you, and PM me if you ever need some understanding of someone that's been in the same position!
  6. by   sitesonRN
    I am (as my son would say...) 39 1/2, but I feel and act so much younger.

    It was hardest for me when I went back to school two years ago to start all of my prereqs. It had been 18 years since high school and I felt so overwhelmed, and lets face it...OLD. I was the oldest in that class, due to it being a core course, but as I started nursing courses I did not notice the age difference as much. Not only are there several other students in my classes that are 35-45, but the younger students are so focused and mature. I feel that with this maturity and the serious nature of our field that there are not any cliques to make "us" feel out of place. I too, have made best of friends with a young lady that could be my daughter, and we have been great study partners. It may even be easier to have a study partner who is younger, without the family responsibilities to work around...I know my family schedule makes it difficult for me at times to meet up with my study partners.

    I have finished 39 of the 72 hours for my ADN and was supposed to start NS today, but unfortunately we have had bad weather and classes were cancelled. With that being said, I don't know how many "older" students will be in my class; however, because of this website I have been fortunate enough to meet two of the other students that were accepted into my program and have began to make friends with them, one is 26 and the other 39. As another poster stated, nursing students become family, I have seen it and I am looking forward to meeting my new "family"!

    Good luck to everyone...We ARE family! :Melody: :Melody: :Melody:
  7. by   bearsden
    You aren't the only one. I am forty and am, for the most part, the oldest in my classes (oldest and only guy).

    My kids think it is great. I can sit at home and do homework with them.
  8. by   RNfromMN
    We only have 2 "older" students" in our program as well. One is 40-something with a gaggle of kids & a husband @ home & the other is mid-50s, I believe, with grown kids.

    It was kinda funny because the 50s-something-year-old only joined our group @ the beginning of our last year & before she got there, the 40-something-year-old would constantly, well, I don't know how to describe it. She would constantly say things like, "Well, you guys don't understand what it's like to be my age & have to get through this," or "Once you people get to be my age, you'll know what real pain is!" or "Hey, I'm the oldest person here, so this, or that..." I mean, she would say things like that every day. Just constantly bringing to our attention that she was older than all of us. I don't know what she was expecting, since there were other students only a few years younger than her, with more kids @ home. I guess it was her way of dealing with some insecurity she must have had. Well, it's been a lot quieter in class since the 50-something-year-old joined our program. The first gal has nothing to "complain" about anymore.

    Oh, actually, I forgot - we've got another gal in the program, mid-40s, I would guess that just had her first grandbaby over Christmas break. I think the reason I forgot to include her at first was because she has never even brought up her age....it's something I don't even think about when I'm talking to her.

    The 50s-something woman struggles a bit with the computer aspects of the program. Other than that, she does just fine. I've noticed since I took my nursing school pre-reqs that "older" students tend to do much better in class than younger students. I've also noticed, though, that "older" students are always a little more insecure about fitting in, making sure they're understanding what's expected of them - I think that's natural since most "older" students have been out of school for awhile.

    As far as fitting in, you've got to remember that everyone stands out in their own way. We only have a couple guys in my program - I'm sure they feel out of place all the time. I'm the only smoker in my program - that makes me feel insecure all the time. I'm the only one that's never worked in a hospital - I've got a lot less pt care experience than almost everyone. I'm the only one that's not married/in a relationship - that makes me feel like crap all the time! We've only got 1 lesbian in our program - I'm sure that makes her feel pretty out of place.

    I know this is easy for me to say, but I know you're going to do fine. Once we all got to know eachother, everybody got along together just fine. No one's ever left standing alone when it's time to get into groups, or find a partner to do something.

    Good luck!
  9. by   RNinJune2007
    I am the youngest person in my class. By three years. I have recently turned 19, and about to graduate. I feel out of place a lot due to other people going bar hopping, etc and not being able to go.

    I have a friend who used to be in my class who has kids OLDER than me, but she is my closest friend at school. She had to take a semester off, but we just had lunch a couple weeks ago...

    Don't let ages fool you. You can be friends with people young enough to be your children
    Good luck, keep on keepin' on!
  10. by   kukukajoo
    We only have three students under 30 in my class. One is in her 50's!
  11. by   2bNursewith7kids
    Well, I sure do enjoy this website immensely because there are always lots of people who share similar stories and/or experiences. I sure wish I was the one who was in a class with at least a few older people. The thing that is throwing me off is that the college advisor told me that the median age of the students in our program was 32 yrs. Well, I am beginning to think she was hallucinating because there is no such students that I am seeing. I don't think that the age difference will be that apparent once we get into the clinical setting but I started off-semester. Therefore, I will not be involved in clinical settings until the fall. I think it will get better once we get into the nitty gritty of the coursework. Thanks for all the support.
  12. by   kukukajoo
    You never know about age- I look 25 but am 38 and gotta love it when the young students say that!!

    You may see a difference- I have noticed that the older students in my class at least, tend to put more into it. They are not happy just getting by. I know for me, this education means so much more to me than it would have when I was younger even though I wanted to be a nurse then.
  13. by   meibi1
    It's the opposite in my program. At 30, I am one of the YOUNGER students! I would say the age range is 20 to 60, with a medium age of 38. I love it, though, because it seems that the "older" students are more committed to the education, which is pretty much my whole class.
  14. by   CarolinaGal
    Hang in there! I am in my second semester of nursing school and I am 60! I am having the best time of my life. The younger students constantly teach me and sometimes I have a life experience I can share with them. Also, my grades are at the top of the class. You will do magnificently!

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