The hardest thing about being an older student is that you are older than the rest of the class. This isn’t your fault, and nobody can stop the aging process, but it does give you a little bit of an uphill battle in the classroom. It isn’t that you aren’t smart, and it isn’t that you can’t learn the material, it is more about the ways that you might have been taught to study, and how that may or may not carry over into the classroom today.
Technology is a lot different today than it was even ten years ago. Google is a dominant research tool, and the Internet is one of the best ways to find information these days. One of the hardest things I see out of older students is that they don’t really have the best grasp of the Internet and how to use it. I once heard a co-worker of mine call Facebook “Faceplate”, and Twitter “Twizzler”. Sadly, I have heard some older students use search names for very common Internet tools.
I actually had to do a project with an older man once, and while the result was pretty good, I had to carry the brunt of the technological work. That means I made the PowerPoint, and I had to show him how to use it, and then show him how to use it again before we presented. It was such a mess we just ended up not using it. I had to do something that would showcase what he knew, and using the computer wasn’t cutting it.
Another thing I find some older students doing is that they talk forever about the way schools used to be run. Not that there is anything wrong with that, but I hate run-on stories about how schools were run in 1959, and the conversation isn’t even about that. I was once in a class, and we were talking about making a sentence, and an older student started talking about the longest sentence she wrote in eighth grade. I saw nothing wrong with the story, but it was so long that it almost took up the whole class.
It can be hard being an older student because it can be hard to get into the swing of things once you leave school. I took about a year to take one last class to graduate from college. That one class was the hardest class I ever took. Can you imagine if you haven’t been to school in 20 years? That can be a lot of rust to knock off, and it can be hard to stay motivated at times. Not that it can’t be done, but you just never know.
Being an older student can be a good thing, and you can teach a lot to younger students. However, there are some generational gaps, and technology to get used to. I wish every older student success, but be ready for some challenges, and hopefully you can still fulfill your educational goals.