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Giving college a 2nd try at age 28

SeekingHopeSeekingHope 19 replies1 threads Junior Member
Hello, I'm currently a few months shy of 27. Obviously it's too late to apply anywhere this fall, but it's always a good idea to start planning ahead.

I've been out of college for a few years now. While I got my Bachelor's, my first experience as an undergrad was a miserable hell. I feel like I'm going to have a mental breakdown every time I hear someone refer to college as "the best years of your life". Life afterward has not been much different. Due to things both inside and outside my control, my early adulthood (generally considered to be the pinnacle of life) was a flop. I need to make a radical adjustment and this seems like a way to hit the "reset" button.

Since I don't want to live the rest of my life in regret, I'm thinking about going for it again and getting the real experience this time around. As a major I'd likely choose film and follow my passion this time, since I already have my "safety" degree. I'd join a fraternity to get the full experience of lifelong brotherhood, social life and belonging to something (I joined a colony as an undergrad that quickly shut down due to half the chapter being incomprehensibly lazy and selfish). I'd choose a more well-rounded school this time rather than just picking the highest ranked one.

But of course, my age is the one thing that makes this reboot a bit difficult. The advantage is that I'm constantly told that I look to be about 19-23. Plus how often do you actually ask someone's age in college? It's kind of just assumed that everyone is around the same age. I know I don't have a whole ton of time left before I stick out like a sore thumb, so if I'm going to make things right it'd better be in the near future.

I just want to do anything I can to repair the mess I've made. So many people in the world would give an arm and a leg for the opportunities I've had, and thus I can't just allow myself to squander them.

Am I just desperately coping or can I actually pull this off?
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Replies to: Giving college a 2nd try at age 28

  • damon30damon30 1147 replies5 threads Senior Member
    edited April 2019
    Possible in theory, but your story doesn't inspire confidence. Who will be paying for this? Is your main goal to study film or is it to have some sort of "do-over" of your early adulthood?
    edited April 2019
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  • SeekingHopeSeekingHope 19 replies1 threads Junior Member
    edited April 2019
    >Who will be paying for this?

    Me. But I got full rides to a number of schools the first time around, though I don't know how my distance from high school affects this. (Obviously I know the offers have expired, I'm talking about getting them again).

    >Is your main goal to study film or is it to have some sort of "do-over" of your early adulthood?

    I'll be working my way into the film world no matter what the outcome. I could always be a "self-taught" filmmaker a la Kubrick or Tarantino, which is what I've been doing for a few years, but this seems like a golden opportunity to improve my skill at and make inroads into my passion *and* hit the reset button on my life.
    edited April 2019
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  • damon30damon30 1147 replies5 threads Senior Member
    Good luck with getting full-ride scholarships again. But, if I were you, I would consider studying abroad. It would probably be a lot cheaper, and your social life would likely be much better than what you report it being before.
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  • SeekingHopeSeekingHope 19 replies1 threads Junior Member
    Thanks! I will take that into consideration.
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  • aunt beaaunt bea 10278 replies70 threads Senior Member
    since I already have my "safety" degree.
    You already have a degree, so any university program or state agency is under no obligation to fund you. Most state agencies will not fund someone wanting a second bachelor's degree.
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  • cptofthehousecptofthehouse 30268 replies59 threads Senior Member
    Took one of my kids 14 years to finish college. He was older than you when he finally returned.

    Getting money for a second degree is nearly impossible. Part time courses paired with work might be your best bet. Because my son did not have a degree yet, when he returned, and had not used up any financial aid, he was able to get funding, PELL as well as a small loans. He returned to our house and we covered living expenses.
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  • SeekingHopeSeekingHope 19 replies1 threads Junior Member
    edited April 2019
    Thanks for the info about finances. I'll have to start saving up ASAP, and come up with a solid budget plan.

    Also thanks to MaineLonghorn for the perspective.
    edited April 2019
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  • intparentintparent 36291 replies644 threads Senior Member
    I can’t really imagine most 28 year olds thinking frat life with a bunch of 21 year olds would be fun. In general, I kind of doubt this “do over” is going to somehow be the time of your life that you expect it will be. It seems like you have an idealized view of what college should be, and it probably won’t live up to that.

    Some higher ranked colleges actually don’t allow enrollment for a second bachelors, so check on the college website.
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  • SeekingHopeSeekingHope 19 replies1 threads Junior Member
    edited April 2019
    Most 28 year olds actually had a real college life though. I never got to live the dream. Plus I get along just fine with the younger 20's I work with.

    Perhaps my view is idealized, but from what people tell me it's reasonably close to the truth. It's pretty much common knowledge that "college is the most amazing time of your life", and just look at sites like TFM to see how incredible it can get. Mine doesn't have to be THAT perfect (and likely won't be), but at least valuable. I know what traps not to fall into this time around.

    But yeah unlike last time I'll shop around quite a bit before I land on a school. USC would be my top choice right now given its legendary film school, sports, social scene, etc. Only questionable aspect is the surrounding area.
    edited April 2019
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  • aunt beaaunt bea 10278 replies70 threads Senior Member
    edited April 2019
    USC would be my top choice right now given its legendary film school, sports, social scene, etc.
    Can you pay $72K per year for USC's "most amazing time of your life"?
    Most 28 year olds actually had a real college life though
    Not true. A large number of people didn't go to college because they couldn't afford it, or, weren't interested or just rushed through college.

    I ABSOLUTELY agree with @intparent:
    thinking that frat life with a bunch of 21 year olds would be fun. In general, I kind of doubt this “do over” is going to somehow be the time of your life that you expect it will be. It seems like you have an idealized view of what college should be, and it probably won’t live up to that.
    Most of those kids will be 18-20 because people tend to move off campus as they age. So you want to live with a bunch of teens.

    When I was in college, between 18-21, it was good because we shared the same perspectives, similar experiences with upbringing (in HS activities, music, clothing, volunteering), catching rides going home during holidays, extended weekends. etc. When I was 28, I knew a LOT of 28 year olds who didn't find college to be the most "amazing time of their lives" because they were so busy working hard to get strong grades and internships. Now, years later, I'm sure they think of their colleges as good in that way, since going from 18 to 22, tends to mature a kid in college.
    As for a frat, you have to be invited. You're sure about the FRATS accepting you?
    edited April 2019
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  • SeekingHopeSeekingHope 19 replies1 threads Junior Member
    edited April 2019
    If I knew how to quote comments this would be easier, so sorry for the formatting.

    >Can you pay $72K per year for USC's "most amazing time of your life"?

    Out of pocket absolutely not, unless I actually DO manage to make it big in the film world -- where they pretty much offer the best chance of doing so. Probably not worth the risk since there are other quality film schools that are affordable.

    >Not true. A large number of people didn't go to college because they couldn't afford it, or, weren't interested or just rushed through college.

    Most doesn't mean everybody. But I think the rest would take this opportunity if they could.

    >Most of those kids will be 18-20 because people tend to move off campus as they age. So you want to live with a bunch of teens.

    It's not ideal, but neither is this whole situation. I might not live on campus after the first year. One thing that's making me hesitate is having to be in a dorm situation which I have outgrown.

    >When I was in college, between 18-21, it was good because we shared the same perspectives, similar experiences with upbringing (in HS activities, music, clothing, volunteering), catching rides going home during holidays, extended weekends.

    I'd have the same in common with the other film majors. I can talk about films for days on end.

    >When I was 28, I knew a LOT of 28 year olds who didn't find college to be the most "amazing time of their lives" because they were so busy working hard to get strong grades and internships.

    The two aren't mutually exclusive. Greek organizations have higher GPAs on average, for example. And it's not like all these people who had incredible college experiences are living on the streets or anything.

    >As for a frat, you have to be invited. You're sure about the FRATS accepting you?

    I didn't say it was sure, but few things in life are. If I go to a school with Theta Chi then I'll have points as a legacy, though my dad's chapter was banned years ago.
    edited April 2019
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  • cptofthehousecptofthehouse 30268 replies59 threads Senior Member
    It appears that you want to go back to college to partake in the stereotypical college social life. It’s not the education or second degree you seek so much as what you perceive as the “college experience”. Complete with frats, intramural, “play time” you want a second go at that.

    The American on campus sleep away college experience is there as a bridge from home to adulthood and true independence. It’s a myth that all college students go through this sort of experience. Most colleges these days do not have dorms for all 4 years for all of their UGs as most do move off campus and start to separate from the freshman lifestyle. Yet, that is what you are seeking.

    Personally, I don’t like the idea. But you are free to do as you please. A lot of colleges are not going to like the idea either, particularly the ones who focus on getting a core group of 18-22 year olds into their schools as UGs. Most likely, they will not place you in a dorm with the freshman. Frats may not find you a good fit as a new pledge. What you are considering is highly unusual and likely to be looked at with askance. Because you are trying to join a transitional phase that is a phase with a purpose to move out of it. It’s like putting a 3rd grader into a toddler Gymboree class because they would like those activities. That they seek the activities is fine, but it is preferred that they find them in other settings as a much older child disrupts the flow of a preschool activity.

    When my son returned to get his degree, he did participate in some activities with younger students, and was welcomed warmly but he was very conscious of the huge age and experience differential and behaved accordingly. He was there to get his degree and picked social venues where he was not out of place. It’s not a safe thing to be hobnobbing with kids that much younger than yourself doing risky things. You are expected to be more responsible

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  • RoaringMiceRoaringMice 693 replies2 threads Member
    It's not unusual for older people to return for degrees in the arts, especially in second degree programs. In fact, this is done so often, by people who 1) already have a degree in another field and 2) have been working for a while, that many schools have post-baccalaureate programs in art and film. You'd spend 1-2 years full time in such a program, getting the credentials you need to move into the industry. Highly focused programs. Might be worth looking into.

    Even if you enter a uni as a full second degree student, your gen ed type classes will normally be waived, since you already have a bachelors, and you'll only need to take the classes required to complete your major. In a BFA arts program, this could shorten your time to degree to about three years, which can help, financially. It probably won't shorten the time by more than that, though, due to the sheer number of classes required by most BFA programs, and you also have to leave time for internships and etc. in film if you want to be employable.

    Little if any non-loan financial aid is available for second degree students, so cost may need to be factor in your choice of schools.

    Your experience as an older student won't be what it might have been if you were 18 and entering college, and to be honest, I'd suggest that it shouldn't be. I feel it's important that you're okay with that. For example, wanting to "party", as I might phrase it, with 20 year olds is not at all a good idea. Living in the dorms, for older students, can be uncomfortable. All that said, many unis (and film/art schools) have good number of older students on campus, and even housing especially for older students. This might be a way for you to have that full college experience, without the worst stuff about it.

    I'm not sure that wanting to join a frat is a very good idea for an older student, but I don't know any older students who have done so, so others can perhaps comment on that.
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  • TQfromtheUTQfromtheU 1540 replies17 threads Senior Member
    Counseling and a masters or focused film classes. My friend took photography courses and developed a second career. You can't go back in time but you can change directions where you are. If you are mostly want to go back to the past you didn't have, talk it out with a counselor and save the time and money. BTW - My husband's fraternity has grad chapters for grown men. You don't hang or pledge with the kids and you get the benefit of the brotherhood that you are seeking. Better parties, no foolishness, great career connections.
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  • cptofthehousecptofthehouse 30268 replies59 threads Senior Member
    The OP wants to return to college for the socialization. It’s actually like wanting to join a Gymboree class as the participant , not a parent. There’s a point in time, one has to leave the sandbox or kiddie pool
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  • bopperbopper Forum Champion CWRU 14472 replies104 threads Forum Champion
    edited April 2019
    Can you get a Master's degree? Can you get involved in greek life if you are a graduate student?

    is there a way to get the experience of fraternity life in some other way? Are there other social groups that would feel similar?
    edited April 2019
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