100 lb. Club - My Fear-- Big fat lady goes to college

02-06-2010, 10:09 PM
Okay, after nearly 2 years of unemployment-- last year I made like 5,000.00 in work income, I will be returining to college at 50 years old-- hoping for Someone to hire me at the end. I am terrified. I can handle the work, I am just scared of the built in prejudice against old people. I need a job but I am utterly terrified that looks and youth will always win over experience and skills. I have 9 months to loose this weight. I suppose I will be forced to dye my hair (I like gray). Please give me something that will make me believe that I will be the same person when I come out the end. I am the calmest I have ever been. I feel better than I felt 10 years ago. I actually like myself. This has never happened before. Overweight but feel good? Like myself?

What is going on? is it menopause?

02-06-2010, 10:38 PM
OMG - do not dye your hair! Do not change ANYTHING for ANYONE if you are comfortable with yourself. A confident, strong, mature woman can be an automatic role model for young women, a kick in the pants to young guys' stereotypes about us old farts, and a wonderful challenge to your professors.

Stay who you are. I feel better just reading your post knowing you are striding out there! Thanks for making me (re)aware of some of my own self-imposed social restrictions.


02-06-2010, 10:41 PM
Actually as far as hiring after college you have a lot more going for you than the young kids coming out of college. You know what the work force is like, you will have a better sense of responsibility, and much less likely to be one that that hires on and then leaves 6 months later, and the fact that you went back to school to improve yourself will look good to any future employer. You are doing great on your weightloss which will continue to boost your confidense and finishing college would boost it to.

So I lift your head and walk in there like you own the place then blow all of those that look down on you out of the water with your grades because you will take the whole thing much more serious than 90% of the people there.

02-06-2010, 10:43 PM
Be proud of what you are doing to support yourself and going to school! You might be surprised at the number of older people are in college. I got my first undergrad degree with a mid 40's guy. I'm 33 getting a second undergraduate degree. My mom got her masters in her 50's. My best friend is 30 and just about to graduate with her first degree.

College degrees don't know age. :) You'll do fine and I agree.. don't change for anyone but yourself if it's what you want!

02-06-2010, 10:46 PM
There's a lot in the news about how we yuppies don't retire - we start second careers instead. So, somebody has to be hiring these "old" people!!

"I actually like myself."
That's wonderful :dance: You don't have to change who you are to get a job. Employers, even in this ecomomy, are looking for enthusiastic, self assured people. That's you.

02-06-2010, 11:02 PM
You know what? Don't worry about it now.

Get through what is in front of you -- going to school, getting the degree.

When resume/job hunting time actually rolls around you will have a different outlook/perspective.

While we want to look ahead and plan ahead a little bit, you don't want to fall into the trap of looking sssooooo far ahead that it distracts you from the here and now, or worse -- prevents you from even giving a try.

So go for it, full steam ahead! :)


02-06-2010, 11:49 PM
Don't fret, there are plenty of people who are hired at beyond 50 years of age. When I was in undergrad, there were a number of students who were 40+, either as undergrads or grad students. I'm going back to school myself in my mid 30s and hoping to quasi change my career.

02-07-2010, 02:57 AM
Okay, Giselle, scoot over and make some room for me so we can work through the quivering fear together.

I'm freshly divorced, turned 49 on Friday, and am back at school as well. I too am fearful that no one will hire me. But fear is an emotion, and not reality.

We're not going to stay at home, afraid to live life! We're going back to school, we're going to get really good grades (because our knowledge and wisdom make us that much smarter) and we're going to get hired because we have one thing those younger people don't...can't get pregnant. Plus, we know how to manage people now.

If you love your gray hair, keep it. Change your appearance only if it suits you. I'd concentrate more on having a good cut. Spend the next year building your self-confidence into something solid and real. Join Toastmasters Club and try some public speaking. Put together a wardrobe that's suitably hip and stylish.

We're not at the end of our days, but merely starting the second half.

02-07-2010, 03:34 AM
Let me tell you about my grandmother. Grandmother grew up during the Depression and, although she won a full scholarship, never got to go to college because she was the oldest of 7 children and my great-grandfather literally could not afford the train ticket to send her to Chicago. She missed out on college for a train ticket.

She had a full career, married, raised kids, no degree. When she retired, THEN she went to college...started at the age of 70. She blew those kids out of the water and graduated magna cum laude with a dual major in history and psychology. 10 years later, she told me, if she'd known she was going to live that long she would have gone on and gotten her Ph.D.

When I was writing her eulogy in 2005, I called the college alumni office to get the details about her degrees...and I was blown away because they REMEMBERED her. She was that memorable.

They didn't remember her for her weight or appearance. They remembered her because she was REMARKABLE and won over the hearts of all the 18-year-olds she was sitting in class with.

Don't worry about your looks, your age or your presumed hireability or lack of. College is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that not everyone gets to experience...just enjoy it and learn as much as you can. I promise you, no one is going to notice your (perceived) flaws. They won't. Just go and live the experience to the fullest, and enjoy every minute of it! (And if you get invited to a party, GO!!) :)

02-07-2010, 03:59 AM
College is such a mix of people that I think you'll be surprised how well you actually fit in. I graduated from college a last year and most of my classes had "non-traditional students" in them. No one judged anyone else or took anyone else less seriously because of their age. It was actually really great for discussion and debate because people from different points in life can often offer unique perspectives. I say there's no need to change anything about yourself. Just go in with an open mind and enjoy college!

Best of luck!!! :)

mel hughes
02-07-2010, 04:07 AM
I think it is wonderful that you are going back to school! Not many people are brave enough to make that decision! So congratulations on your decision!

I am 23 years old and currently go to a small technical college. The best friend I've made while at school is a woman in her late 40's. She is brilliant and wonderful and CLASSY. I promise you, people notice that. Not many girls in their 20's are classy.

Focus on what you are about to do.. Your outgoing, confident personality will shine through all on its own!

mel hughes
02-07-2010, 04:08 AM
I'm a big fat girl in college. But everyone notices my grades, not my waist line. ;)

02-07-2010, 07:28 AM
I am 59. I have been an artist all my life and , never became interested in a formal education. Last summer...due to some circumstances at the time, I decided to go back and get my GED. It was really scary to face the old math demons, but I did it and and even surprised myself with a pretty good grade...Later, I thought I would like to go to college, and study nutrition. I h looked around a bit and found that the courses were far away...and gave up. After reading your post, I felt that maybe if I keep trying, I can still find a way to do it. I guess courage rubs off. Thank You.
By the way, I sneaked a peek at your picture, and you look great !

02-07-2010, 09:09 AM
Giselley, do not change yourself one little bit! You have so much to offer your fellow students and the faculty at your new university. I work in the library in a university and some of my very best, and most memorable, student workers were "non-trad" students. Hold your head up high, learn and enjoy this new experience. I think you will find that many of the younger students and professors will be eager to hear your POV.

02-07-2010, 09:22 AM
You will be amazed at how many older people are actually there too! I went back to school about 5 years ago - I was definitely still obese then and even had to take speech *gasp* I still I guess had some confidence inside and just making the steps you have shows you have that as well.

Don't get me started on menopause though - I have been trying for the last 6 months to figure out if that is what is going on with me. I have yet to bite the bullet and go talk to my dr as I dont know that I wasn the answer lol

02-07-2010, 09:23 AM
jeepers creepers, those peepers! lovely blue eyes.

two things:

well, I'll tell you, I had been working for 9 years at my last job, and in this past month had to hit the pavement to find a new job. I had some confidence, at the same time I thought to myself, I'm 45 now and I'm a large woman. This is going to be tough. Not to say the job search in itself isn't challenging, but I did find that my age was less of a concern and my qualifications and how I presented myself were what sat on the front burners. employers want you to be able to perform, fit in well, and be a dependable employee.

secondly, many are the times I've wished I'd been older when I went to college. I knew a woman when I went to school, twenty some years ago when it was less common for older women to go back, and she was more focused because she knew what she wanted, and she excelled (at a tough school). The other younger students liked and admired her too, I liked her and admired her. There are many advantages to maturity.

For me, age and increasing maturity have really helped me to calm down and like and accept myself. We fight so much about getting older in our culture, and worship youth too much. There can be a richness in accumulating experience and in living.

I dye my hair, it's so mousy brown if I don't. And it makes me feel better. I also love silver and gray hair (mine doesn't look that way).

Good luck and enjoy!!

oh, yeah, I'm doing the peri shuffle -- yikes!!

02-08-2010, 10:37 AM
From a completely practical perspective - you don't have to put the date you earned your degree on your resume. Most employers will probably assume you earned it years ago unless you say otherwise.

Switching gears - I went to a university that targets non-traditional students, so it might be different than the one that you are enrolling in. If possible, look for one. If not, there are sooooo many of us out there doing this. My graduation class was over 500 and I was one of the younger ones at age 30. You can do this!! You might also consider taking some online classes at your university to get back into the groove. I wouldn't take math or any technically complex class online, but history, english and other composition type classes work really well that way. Before I went to the university I graduated from, I went to a major state university at the branch campus and found there were a lot more non-traditional students there. That might be a better fit. Ultimately, even if you do go to a traditional university and take campus classes, I think you'll find the students looking up to you. You have actual workforce experience and life experience that they don't. Sure, you won't be invited to thier parties, but they will treat you with respect in the classroom.

I remember having a graduate teaching assistant in a class and realized I was older than she was. It was a strange feeling! She had, of course, a lot more subject specific knowledge than I did, but she seemed to look to me frequently throughout the class to "confirm" that she was correct. (The class was a business course of which I had real-world experience and she had yet to have more than academic experience.)

One more "realist" piece of advice - you are there to get a degree. The degree is the end product. Don't let other things come in your way.

traci in training
02-08-2010, 12:25 PM
Well, I guess I know exactly how you feel. I was a 41 year old accountant who went back and started over - in nursing school. Here are the hardest things - don't mother the other students and don't try to manage anyone. I've been a supervisor or a manager and a mother forever and letting all of that go and just being a student in charge of myself was VERY hard. So many people don't make good choices - don't go to class, don't study - and it's hard to just let them take care of themselves when you've always taken care of everyone.

That said, going back to school was one of the best things I've ever done - for me and my family. I love my new career. And I didn't dye my hair or dress like a teeny-bopper. And I graduated top of my class. Old students rock!

02-08-2010, 12:30 PM
I'm not the only older, fatter person in my college and you won't be either!!! :hug:

02-08-2010, 12:35 PM
Last year at 56 my DH lost his job (in an industry he'd been in for 34 years). He did get one in the same industry - the folks hiring him said. "We certainly are not against hiring a 56 year old with so much experience." So, don't see yourself short.

It's good that you're going back to school. Walk in there proud of who you are and your goals!!!!

02-08-2010, 12:54 PM
Can I just say how much I love this thread?

I went back to finally finish my bachelor's degree at 30 and my master's shortly afterward. I was thrilled to find women 10 & 20 & 25 years older than me in many of my classes. The college where I earned my master's degree was once an all-woman's school, and they have decades of experience in taking in nontraditional students, because women's education in particular has so frequently been interrupted by the exigencies of life. But it isn't just my college that is like that. This is true everywhere in the U.S.

You are going to be fine. You will be so much more focused than the younger students. You don't blow off the opportunity as some of them do. As I did, myself, the first time around, because I saw it as a routine rite of passage, which I simply had to get through, like everyone else, rather than a privilege & an opportunity to excel & a tool for changing my life.