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A Late Bloomer?
Old 09-21-2018, 09:34 PM
 
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One of my coworkers was boasting today about she applied to an online PhD program in Ed. Leadership.

My question is, would you want to get a PhD at 52 years old? Her particular program is a 4-year program, so assuming she stays on track, and she would be 57 when she graduates. I feel like for the amount of money and energy you spend on a PhD program that only being able to use a degree for 8 years seems pointless. Especially since she would most likely have to move in order to get any kind of leadership position as admin in my district and surrounding districts tend to stay in their positions for a very long time.

She has made it very public that once she is 65, she is filing for retirement.

Her response when I presented this logic to her was "I'm a late bloomer"

I'm not telling her not to get a PhD, I'm simply asking her if that is the most practical thing to spend your time and money on?


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Old 09-21-2018, 09:41 PM
 
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I see what you're saying.

Maybe it's just time for a sea change and this is something she really wants to do before it's too late.

Or maybe it's less about the options it opens for her and more about the experience of getting a PhD? Is she really passionate about learning?

Now you've got me curious!
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Wondering too
Old 09-21-2018, 10:39 PM
 
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A former colleague of mine is completing her final year of a PhD program. I am a alum of the university so I know that she spent $60,000+ getting this degree. And she is 58. Even if she were to land an admin position immediately she will be paying off student loans into retirement.
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Old 09-22-2018, 02:28 AM
 
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Quote:
I'm not telling her not to get a PhD, I'm simply asking her if that is the most practical thing to spend your time and money on?
I am trying to write this politely. You are judging your colleague based on ageism--i.e., she's too old to do this. Not true.

Last edited by teacherwriter; 09-22-2018 at 03:06 AM..
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PhD
Old 09-22-2018, 03:52 AM
 
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I admire her for having the motivation and drive to pursue an advanced degree at a later stage of life.

I'm not sure why you felt the need to tell her your opinion about this. I certainly see age bias here. Not your circus . . . not your monkeys.


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Old 09-22-2018, 04:16 AM
 
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I'm in my late 50's and I plan on getting a second masters. You are never too old to do something new, challange yourself, improve something or do something you enjoy or want to do.

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ageism much?
Old 09-22-2018, 04:29 AM
 
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Guise of "practicality".
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Old 09-22-2018, 04:37 AM
 
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Some people like the challenge of pursuing further education. Maybe itís something she has been considering for some time and finally made that move to fulfill a dream.

Try to see if from her perspective rather than yours.

It will be a lot of work, time and money, but that is her choice.
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Old 09-22-2018, 04:56 AM
 
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I admire her. I have two masters and yes, they increased my pay as well as my pension so they were practical. I was also proud to see my daughters faces when I walked to get the second diploma in cap and gown. I was the first in my family to graduate from college so it was a big deal to get the masters degree. I do love learning and take classes through coursera but not for credit. With that admin PhD she could also sub as a principal after retirement and make a lot more than teacher subs!
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Old 09-22-2018, 05:09 AM
 
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Thank you, PPs, for your reasoned responses. You said what I was thinking much better than I could manage in my own post.


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Old 09-22-2018, 05:20 AM
 
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Maybe itís always been a dream of hers to have a PhD?
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Old 09-22-2018, 05:27 AM
 
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Brava to her for demonstrating what we tell our kids: be a life-long learner. If you had presented your "logic" to me, I'd have told you to cram it with walnuts.
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Welp...
Old 09-22-2018, 05:30 AM
 
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If your coworker has time and money to burn, why not?

I get wanting a PhD. I would not do if it ate into retirement money, and savings I would need later on.

Student loan companies are beyond horrible, and would not want to be dealing with them in my 70s.
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I almost did
Old 09-22-2018, 05:48 AM
 
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Then my needy son and granddaughter moved in. That took priority.

Now at 57, I don't have the desire.
I was thinking post retirementc consulting, workshops, college teaching, etc.
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Good for her!
Old 09-22-2018, 06:29 AM
 
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Why would you want to get a PhD at 52? Because you want to! Fifty-two is pretty freakin' young, and she will have plenty of time to use that degree. Maybe she's at a point where it is more feasible to do this now. Maybe she's ready for a change. Maybe she simply wants to keep learning, because, you know...learning is fun! Heck, who cares why!?

I'm going to try to say this politely, but what business is it of yours to determine how someone should spend his/her time? If this is her desire, her dream, then kudos to her for following it! I'm not trying to be harsh, but, as previous posters have said, you're judging her based on her age. As Kid President would say, "Not cool, Robert Frost!" (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l-gQLqv9f4o)
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Not too old
Old 09-22-2018, 06:49 AM
 
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I donít think itís too old... if she has the interest and money , great for her. If I had the money I would get another masterís in reading... when I was preganant for my second child at 35 a couple of people said something about Ďhaving a baby again at my age...í it really hurt my feelings because I was so excited.. so I donít comment on anyoneís age anymore...
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Old 09-22-2018, 06:51 AM
 
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50s and 60s are young now if you look and feel good
When I was younger I thought it was so old but when you get there especially baby boomers itís really not
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Age
Old 09-22-2018, 08:36 AM
 
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I don't think you're ever too old to fulfill a dream or make achievements.

Quote:
. I feel like for the amount of money and energy you spend on a PhD program that only being able to use a degree for 8 years seems pointless.
I understand this logic. It may not be a wise long-term investment financially, but I'm guessing the degree means a lot to your colleague. To her, it's worth it. Advancing one's knowledge of, and I'm admit I'm a bit biased here, the best profession in the world, isn't pointless. Who knows what she'll do with her degrees once she retires from teaching?

Quote:
Her response when I presented this logic to her was "I'm a late bloomer"
This a kinder response than I would've produced were I in her shoes.
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Old 09-22-2018, 10:01 AM
 
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So are you really saying that education is only worthwhile if the student doesn't come out ahead financially?
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My ex earned his Ph.D. at 50.
Old 09-22-2018, 10:19 AM
 
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He did not pay a dime for it.

Perhaps you do not understand how Ph.D. programs work. The student is subsidized and also is able to be a TA or RA and earn $$ to live on. He did not need any loans and did not pay tuition. He may have had to pay for books, but there was no big outlay of money. This was at UCLA.
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Old 09-22-2018, 10:27 AM
 
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Life isn't always about being practical.

I'm still considering getting a PhD one day. Never once crossed my mind that someone may think I'm too old.

The additional pay will certainly increase her retirement. And I'm kind of scratching my head at "only 8 years." Eight years is a long time!

It's my 47th birthday today. I'm celebrating by taking my 3-year-old (and his 13-year-old brother) to the fair. I'll try not to break a hip.
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Old 09-22-2018, 11:25 AM
 
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Honestly, I think too many waste money on higher education. When I went to college, you could literally pay it off on a minimum wage salary. If you didn't land a job, you weren't in debt. I think once you've hit 30, college should be over. As the OP said, it's a waste unless you're doing it for enjoyment. I've seen too many get MAs to become admin and never get moved up. They a 2K a year bump in salary for a 20K MA. I have a coworker who got her MA and is still paying it off. Due to reorganization that happened last year, we're no longer offered morning and aftercare (part time staff does it). She had to get a part time job to help pay off her loan. Obviously, you can what you want but I agree it's a waste. I also think, as an older woman, that we should be focusing more on retirement than getting MAs and PhDs.
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Old 09-22-2018, 11:38 AM
 
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I would totally do something like that.

I’m 48 and can retire in a couple of years.

Last edited by Ima Teacher; 09-22-2018 at 08:27 PM..
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Old 09-22-2018, 12:03 PM
 
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Quote:
Honestly, I think too many waste money on higher education. ... I think once you've hit 30, college should be over. ... I also think, as an older woman, that we should be focusing more on retirement than getting MAs and PhDs.
Wow. AlwaysSummer, as an "older woman" who "should" be retired but just took a new job--in middle school!--I find your attitude appalling. But like you said, feel free to limit your options. As for me, I'm not done yet.
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Old 09-22-2018, 03:08 PM
 
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It does take a lot of work to earn a PhD from a quality program. It does not necessarily require a lot of money (but it can mean a gap in income).

Quote:
He did not pay a dime for it.

Perhaps you do not understand how Ph.D. programs work.
This is not true across the board- not by a long shot. If someone goes through one of those for profit programs like Capella, it costs a crapload of money. Even if you go to a major, respected university, they are not always able to fund all students. Some programs fund every student they accept, others fund none, and many are in between. A lot depends on the financial structure of the program, the field, and the research opportunities. It's more likely to happen in top research universities (getting funded, I mean) but can happen in other programs. I had a coworker who got her PhD through Capella at the age of 52. It cost her close to 100K, but she was able to move up the ranks in district office. My former P got his PhD from USC hybrid program in his 50s and got himself a job in higher ed.

I do agree that the decision to get a PhD involves factoring in the potential cost (whether cost for the program or cost to you by taking a significant pay cut to attend school), your resources, your future goals and the ability to cash in on your time/money investment, the reasons why you're getting the degree, and family factors. Whatever it is, it's her decision to make.

I went back in my 40s to get my PhD. It had been my goal for decades but family life and needs took priority for a while. Our family had to relocate, take a significant financial hit, and it took a lot of time and effort on my part (and support on theirs). My program was completely covered financially through my work in the program, but we still struggled with money during that time (and are just coming out of our black hole).

Was it worth it? For me, yes. My kids are really proud of me, my dh is really proud of me. I am really proud of me- I met my long-held goal. My kids also have seen how much I value education at any age. Although I was older than the vast majority of people in my classes and even many of my professors, I was highly respected by most for my experience and what I brought to the table. I have a great reputation in my field and coworkers who have been doing this job at this level for years look to me for advice on the topics in which I have more experience. Any "ageist attitudes" about this come from me and only me. If others are thinking these types of thoughts about me, I don't catch wind of them. More often I hear that I'm inspiring and respected. People have felt that I bring something important to my field.

I'm not saying this to be a braggart- in fact it feels uncomfortable to report these things even briefly. It's simply to say that even at my "advanced age," I am able to contribute something important. Financially it may not have been the most ideal move. But in other ways it was the perfect move for me. I honestly don't think education is ever "pointless," but I do understand that it doesn't always make financial sense to get more education. But finances aren't the only consideration. And this is definitely her choice. Good on her, I say!

I do agree that her response to you was nicer than what I would have wanted to say to your comment. If people were judging my decision and thinking it wasn't worth it because I was too old, I'm glad they kept it to themselves.
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Old 09-22-2018, 03:13 PM
 
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Quote:
It's my 47th birthday today. I'm celebrating by taking my 3-year-old (and his 13-year-old brother) to the fair. I'll try not to break a hip.
Happy birthday!!! and

My 47th is coming up in a few months. I think my hip has enough padding to protect itself...
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Old 09-22-2018, 04:07 PM
 
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That may have been the case with your husband but it is not possible if you need to work full time to support your family.

I am all for furthering your education at any age, but when it puts a financial burden on you, I question the decision.

My colleague (see previous post) has been teaching long enough that she would take a pay cut to move into an entry level admin position. If she can get hired. My district is full of admins who are male and former coaches. Definitely operates under a "good ol boy" mentality. Wrong, but it is what it is.

Her spouse did the same thing and quit his principal position after a year because he had to spend too much time away from home in the evenings.
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Old 09-22-2018, 04:35 PM
 
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I think your colleague is doing well for herself. I also think she might have found she can't retire at 65 and decided to follow her dream.
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more power to her
Old 09-23-2018, 04:46 AM
 
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Quote:
Her response when I presented this logic to her was "I'm a late bloomer"

I'm not telling her not to get a PhD, I'm simply asking her if that is the most practical thing to spend your time and money on?
But it's her time time, and her money, so more power to her!

Quote:
You are never too old to do something new, challenge yourself, improve something or do something you enjoy or want to do.
I agree.

My husband's grandfather went back to school late in life, and he was one of the most interesting people I've ever known.
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Old 09-23-2018, 09:54 AM
 
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I remember, years ago, a question was posed to Dear Abby about someone wondering if she should go on for a degree at an older age.

Dear Abby responded something to the effect that in 4 years sheíd still be that age with or without the degree so why not improve yourself regardless of age.

I see what you are saying, but if thatís what she wants to do Iíd be encouraging her.
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My grandpa
Old 09-24-2018, 06:05 AM
 
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My grandpa was 75 and was taking college courses for 5 years before he passed. He loved learning new things and he felt education was important no matter what the age.

I think you should be happy for your co-worker. She is doing it because its something she loves and a goal of hers.
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You're being ageist :(
Old 09-24-2018, 08:41 PM
 
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I'm 45 and taking the MCAT in the winter. Will I go to medical school? I don't know. I am enjoying the challenge of taking extra science classes to prepare. Education isn't always about meeting goals on a deadline, it's about learning and growing as a person.
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You know what?
Old 09-27-2018, 12:02 PM
 
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She'll still be 57 years old in 4 years, whether she gets the degree or not. Except now, she'll be a 57 year old doctor. I didn't get mt master's until I was almost 50.
If you don't pay her bills, it's not your business in any way how practically she spends her time and/or money.
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It's a great idea!
Old 09-29-2018, 03:17 PM
 
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She can be a principal for 8 years with a much higher salary (we always have openings in my area). She will get a significantly higher pension when she retires. Plus she can be a part-time adjunct professor at a nearby college or university and/or a consultant to local school districts. One of my former principals did all of that and didn't start his doctorate until age 54.
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Old 10-01-2018, 03:31 PM
 
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Going back to school is not my choice at age 55. I am ready to focus on grand kids, travel, enjoy where I am in life. If someone else wants to invest int education, good for them. As for me...not practical.
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Old 10-01-2018, 04:58 PM
 
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Quote:
I get wanting a PhD. I would not do if it ate into retirement money, and savings I would need later on.

Student loan companies are beyond horrible, and would not want to be dealing with them in my 70s.
This!

I think sometimes people go back to school because it is enjoyable for them. I am back in school now and I thought I'd love it and be enjoying it. Unfortunately, I don't like the course or the university.. but if I did.. I could understand why someone would want to go back and get the additional degree.

Four years go by fast.

Maybe she wants to work as an Adjunct doing principal prep programs when she retires? That would make sense. Working with teachers who are getting their principal licenses.
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Old 10-01-2018, 06:57 PM
 
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I've always wanted to go back for my doctorate. It's never made sense financially for us, because the programs I'm most interested in would require me to quit teaching. I once said something to DH's family about wanting to go back for my PhD, and said if it was just me, I'd go back in a heartbeat. Their response was laughter. I literally had no words in response and it has always stuck with me. I think it's great that your coworker is going back and working toward a goal, regardless of her age.
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Kudos to her!
Old 10-02-2018, 11:18 AM
 
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Maybe the mental stimulation and challenge are invigorating to her, making her choice practical and worth every penny. I say, you go, girl! She has a goal and I hope she is able to achieve it.

My brother got his doctorate to become a professor in his field. He was 59 when he added Doctor to his name.
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Old 10-06-2018, 11:17 AM
 
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Our profession tends to see the horizon with retirement as being the light. For many individuals the path to retirement takes on different forms. When I completed my masters program at age 53 for a huge raise I was toying with the idea of attending the Phd program at USC. There would be a lot of skyping involved and I would joke with the admission counselor how I would feel a bit self conscious because of my age. She noted rather blatantly that there were quite a lot if individuals that were enrolled who were in their 80's and one in their upper 90's. One of the most important factors while aging is to continue mental stimulation. Some individuals may feel the need to do so. I never did enroll.
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Old 10-12-2018, 07:55 AM
 
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This, exactly:
Quote:
You are never too old to do something new, challange yourself, improve something or do something you enjoy or want to do.
There’s more to happiness and fulfillment in life than money.

I can’t believe this is for real.
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