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Where Does the Day Go?

  • Posted on March 16, 2012 at 11:31 pm

Recently I enrolled in an online course for medical billing and coding. I work from home so I don’t have to commute to work, but I’ve noticed that it is hard for me to get my day organized since I’ve started classes. I have a good friend who took medical assistant training and she complained of the same thing. We’re both over 40 and not as flexible as we used to be. Thankfully our children are grown and out of the house, well almost my daughter still lives with me, so we don’t have the extra responsibility of getting the kids to school and picking them up from day care. Frankly I don’t know how some people cram everything they do into a day. I’ve never been one to try to get everything done at once, I’ve learned to pace myself, but still it is a challenge to work, manage a household, and take classes.

http://farm4.staticflickr.com/3533/3974475814_c28b064d05_m.jpg

You're not Superwoman

As “older”students we sometimes have trouble getting back into the swing of taking classes. It can be stressful enough trying to get back into the habit of studying, writing papers, and getting all of our homework done on time without putting the added pressures of trying to live up to some unrealistic “Superwoman” or “Superman” stereotype. Our society seems to equate worth with being busy. That is unfortunate. It is no wonder the incidences of heart disease, diabetes and stroke are climbing. All of these conditions can be stress related.

So how can you do what you need to in one day and not have your sanity or health pay the price? Here’s some tips I’ve learned through the years.

Know your limitations. Okay so you can’t stay up until 3am and get up at 7am any more. It’s called aging and maturity. In order to stay healthy you have to know how much you can handle. Just today I had to turn down a client request for more work because I knew I couldn’t handle it. Would the money have been nice? Sure it would have and Lord knows I need it, but I also knew I wouldn’t be able to give the client quality blogs, do my other clients work, and get through my weekly lessons. And you know what, that’s okay.

Don’t try to do everything. As parents we have this notion we should do everything for our families. Well this just sets them up for failure because they never learn responsibility. Make a chore chart and stick to it. If you don’t have kids at home ask for help when you need it. If your friend is going to the store, ask him or her to pick you up a few things if you need them. Remember it’s okay to ask for help when you need it.

Learn to say no. This is related to my first tip. You don’t have to feel like you have to do everything you’re asked. If you can’t or don’t want to do it politely decline. I find the older I get the easier it is to say no.

Take care of your body. This is a hard one for me. It’s so much easier to just pop open a can of Chef Boyardee and eat it cold while I work than it is to take the time to prepare something healthy. What is worse is if you’re going through the drive through several nights a week. You’re putting a lot of fat, sodium, and cholesterol into your body. Sooner than later you’re going to pay for this with high blood pressure, weight gain, fatigue, and other unwanted health issues. I’m just as guilty so I’m not pointing the finger, believe me this is an area I struggle with everyday.

I hope these tips help you manage your time and save your sanity. Going back to school after 40 is exciting, but it can be stressful. Relax when you can, carve out some downtime, and remember to have a positive attitude. Sometimes you have to just sit back and laugh at life before it gets you down.

Before You Jump into a Degree Program Try Out a Few Classes First

  • Posted on March 4, 2012 at 1:51 am

If you’re over 40 and you’ve been thinking about going back to school to either finish your degree, further your degree, or start a brand new program you may want to consider taking just a few classes at first. This will give you a chance to see if college classes fit into your schedule and if they are really something you want to sign up for. Committing to a degree program is a great idea, but you may need to start slowly before you get out the college handbook and start mapping out your full time schedule. Juggling a family, a job, and school can be hard for anyone. Even if you’re retired and all of your kids are out on their own, it can be an adjustment to add school to your schedule.

http://farm4.staticflickr.com/3297/3177988741_b1a9368163_m.jpgAnother reason to start slowly is it will help you decide if you want to take classes on campus or online. Each choice has its pros and cons. On campus classes give you a chance to interact face to face with your instructor and fellow students, while online classes may be easier for you to fit into your busy day. Both are challenging, so don’t think online classes are easier. Recently I began an online program and I was surprised at the amount of work involved. (Personally I think this program is more challenging than any on campus program I’ve been involved in, but I’ve always liked a challenge so it’s all good.)

In an article published by US News, the author gives eight tips for older students returning to college. Among them is to start with a single class to test the waters. For example if you’ve always found math to be challenging, why not take your math requisites one at a time? This way you can focus all of your energy on a subject you find hard and not have to worry about other classes? You may also want to take a class just for fun to see if you’re really interested in returning to school. It could be any subject you’ve always enjoyed, or even a life skills class such as yoga or painting.

Many empty nesters are returning to school and taking advantage of the many scholarships for women and men available for students 40 and above. Adult student enrollment has increased in the last decade and many schools are answering this need with programs tailored to older students. Like I always say, it’s never too late to get an education, but if it’s been years since you’ve been in a classroom you might want to ease your way back into a degree program instead of jumping in with both feet.

 

 

Stay Organized and Be Successful

  • Posted on February 25, 2012 at 10:50 pm

Recently I enrolled in an online course for Medical Billing and Coding. I am well past 40 (I turned 50 last May) and it is exciting and scary at the same time to start learning a new career. If you find yourself starting over past 40, one of the things you may struggle with is organization. I have never had very strong organization skills. I’ve struggled with it in school and at the many different jobs I’ve held. Over the years though, I have learned some tips to keep myself on track and stay as organized as I can be.

Randy Glasbergen

Trying to juggle a family, a job, and school is something almost all adult students have to face. But in order to be successful in all these areas of our lives, we need to develop some organizational skills. Here’s some things I’ve learned that work for me.

  • Realize you can’t do it all. We tend to think we have to be able to do everything and not need to ask for help. This not only wears you out, but it also affects your performance. Instead of trying to be Super Mom or Super Dad, enlist help when you need it.
  • Prioritize your tasks. Do you really have to have the dishes washed and dried each and every night, or do piles of laundry haunt you? And do you have to be the one to do take care of these chores? Having your kids help you with chores teaches them responsibility and takes some of the load off of you. Yes, they might not do them perfectly, but at least they will be done.
  • Make a schedule. Write down all you need to accomplish in a week and then break it down into daily tasks. Post it on a bulletin board, or in a date book so you can see what needs to be done. As you complete each task you will see the progress you’ve made and feel a sense of accomplishment.
  • Don’t procrastinate. I’m the Queen of Procrastination, but this habit stresses you out and affects your ability to study and turn in quality work.
  • Set aside a dedicated space to do your studies. It can be as simple as reserving the kitchen table for a specific time each day, or as elaborate as a home office with the door closed. Let everyone know that when you are in your space you can’t be interrupted. In other words, if it isn’t on fire, bleeding, or dying don’t bother you.
  • Take time to take breaks. Get up at least once an hour to walk around the house, step outside for some fresh air, and grab a nutritious snack. This is a good habit to get into while you’re studying and at work. It clears your mind and keeps you from getting in a rut.

I hope these tips help you to stay on track and keep on track. Going back to school after 40 can be one of the best decisions you make to start a new career, or advance the one you have. Don’t give up and remember, it’s never too late to learn.

Top 10 Careers for Women Over 40

  • Posted on February 12, 2012 at 11:33 pm

If you’re a woman over 40 you may find yourself considering a new career or wanting to advance your current career. Online classes are an excellent way to get and further your education. Many women over 40 find this is the time they can focus on themselves. The kids are raised, their husband’s career is set, or they have found themselves divorced and needing to support themselves. As you approach the second half of your life, you may also want to get out of a dead end job and start a brand new career.

http://farm1.staticflickr.com/167/447180352_fdb954be92_m.jpgIn a recent article on AOL finance, Author Lita Epstein shared More Magazine’s top 10 careers for women over 40, and the top reasons women go back to school after 40 to earn an undergraduate or graduate degree. Some of the main reasons include wanting more fulfillment in their careers, build up their 401Ks, enter a field with a growing future, and have a flexible schedule. Here are the top 10 careers for women over 40 according to More Magazine:

  1. Community Service Coordinator/Manager – this includes Program Director and Volunteer Coordinator.
  2. Personal Finance Advisor – help people invest and manage their money.
  3. Environmental Scientists – this is a hot job market with all of the emphasis on living and working green.
  4. Computer and Information Systems Manager – this field ranges from managing an IT department to Chief Technology Officer.
  5. Education Administration – this field is usually entered by teachers who become principles and superintendents.
  6. Strategic/Crisis Communication Professional – these professionals help to coordinate and plan crisis relief plans and preparedness plans.
  7. Accountingaccounting careers include CPA, government, business, and private accounting.
  8. Human Resources Specialist – this degree enables you to become a Benefit Coordinator, Compensation Manager, and Job Analyst.
  9. Registered Nurse – this is one of the hottest job sectors. The medical field is one of the fastest growing job sectors and RNs are always in demand.
  10. Small Niche Farmer – more then 10,000 small farms are founded each year. If you want to “unplug” and start your own business this may be a job for you.

http://farm7.staticflickr.com/6219/6217058263_143f2862b8_m.jpgWhatever your reason for wanting to start over or advance your career, going back to school after 40 is a great idea. If you’ve been a homemaker all of these years, you may qualify for grants and scholarships to fund your education. Also since you’ve had some life experience ask your school if you can get college credit for what you’ve learned from life. Many colleges offer life experience credits you can use toward a degree. Don’t look at 40 as the end, but the start of the second half of an exciting life.

Starting a New Career After 40

  • Posted on February 3, 2012 at 4:08 am

If you’ve reached a point in your current career where you feel you’ve hit a wall or are just sick of what you do, you may be considering starting a new career. If you’re 40 or over you may think you’re too old to make such a change. But that is far from the truth. Many people start the second half of their life in a new career, learning new skills, and making a positive change in their life. Before you make the move and quit your current job, there are a few things you need to consider.

Ready to make a change?

What do you like to do? Take some time to consider your likes and dislikes. What would you enjoy doing at this point in your life? Perhaps starting your own business has been a dream of yours, or you want to work from home and freelance. In the article, 5 Steps to Start a Second Career on US News, the author suggests you take the self assessment quizzes at Monster.com and Careerpath.com. This will help you decide what area of work would be a good match for your preferences and skills.

Research jobs you’re interested in. You can find information on jobs and careers at the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Research how much you’ll earn, the demand for a job, and the best areas of the country to work in.

Ask around about jobs you like. Network with people who are in the fields you’re interested in. Ask them about training, working conditions, advancement opportunities and any other questions about the job you might think of. Let them know you’re thinking of making a change and ask them if they have any advice for you.

Get the training and education you need. There are many people over 40 taking classes to advance their skill set. I was 43 when I earned my cosmetology license, and my father was over 40 when he changed careers and married my mother so it can be done. You’re never too old to back to school and learn new skills. Don’t let age stand in your way, you’ve got experience and life skills younger people don’t have and employers will see this when you make a career change.

Examine your finances. In a best case scenario you should have one year’s salary saved up, but if that isn’t possible you may have to trim down your budget. Starting out in a new career may mean your salary will be lower than what you’ve grown accustomed to.

If you feel the need for a career change, education will be your ticket to a new life. Look into online classes that let you do the work on your own time. There are several online degree and training programs that will enable you to make a change and have the life you really want.

Over 40? Get Your Masters Degree Online

  • Posted on January 21, 2012 at 7:03 pm

If you’re over 40 you may already have your bachelor degree, but you’ve been thinking about taking it one step further and earning your masters degree. A masters degree increases your earning potential by several thousands of dollars in your lifetime. Studies show that is 2.6 times what a person with just a high school diploma earns in a lifetime. There are several graduate school scholarships which can help make your dream a reality. You can find scholarships based on your race, sex, age, life experience, area in which you live, and many other criteria. Don’t just think about getting your masters degree. Here are some popular programs for you to consider.

Masters in Education 

If you have a career in education, a masters degree will open up the opportunity for you to be involved in the administrative side. A masters degree will also qualify you to teach at a college level. While most universities require a doctorate, community colleges and some smaller colleges accept instructors with a master degree. You can also specialize in the division of education that interests you the most, such as special education. With a masters in education you can make a difference in the shape of education for children and adults.

Masters in Nursing 

Nursing is a rewarding career and with a masters degree you use your skills to specialize and provide excellent care. Some of the areas you may want to specialize in include senior care, neonatal care, and research. With a masters in nursing you can become a nurse anesthetist, nurse mid-wife, or nurse practitioner. You can also move into the administrative or teaching facet of nursing.

Masters in Business Administration

This is one of the most popular masters programs and will give you the skills and knowledge to advance your business career. Masters in Business Administration (MBA) degrees are very flexible and can be used in not only business, but almost any career that requires you to supervise and lead a team. An MBA will increase your earning potential by many thousands of dollars during your career. Many companies require an MBA to rise into the ranks of executive offices.

These are just three of the most popular masters degree programs today. Don’t think just because you’re over 40 your days of learning are over. Many people find taking classes later in life is easier than in their 20’s since they are more focused and goal orientated. Online classes are a great way to get your education, and an excellent way to earn your masters degree.

It is Ever Too Late to Earn Your Degree?

  • Posted on January 8, 2012 at 4:26 am

Some people feel life begins at forty while others look at forty as the end of the line. I for one felt a new sense of freedom once I turned 40. I’m not sure why I felt that way, but I finally felt like a grown up. That might sound silly, but my twenties were spent trying to find myself, my thirties were taken up with marriage and raising my kids, and once I reached 40 my kids were older and I was settled in my marriage. That’s not to say life got boring. I had just embarked on a new career and went back to school to work on my degree, so I wasn’t ready for the rocking chair and lap quilt.

In my opinion it is never too late to get your degree. Even if you never do anything with it, it will give you a sense of accomplishment and broaden your horizons. Forty is not too late to change careers. My father changed his whole life at 40. He met my mom, started a new career, two years later got married, and two more years later I came around. Ten years later he embarked on a new career again. I use him as an example in my life of it’s never too late to make positive changes. Life really is too short to be unhappy and if getting your college degree, or furthering your degree, is what it takes to improve your life, do it.

The advice I’d give to anyone who is considering going back to school after 40 is to take an honest look at your life and schedule to make sure you’ll have the time to devote to your studies. You don’t want to get burned out or overburden yourself. Check out your financial aid options. There are many grants and scholarships for people over 40, but your first step is to fill out a FASFA form. This will help determine your eligibility for federal programs. Ask your employer if they offer any tuition remission or reimbursement plans. Many employers encourage their workers to further their education and you may get a discount or they may pay for your classes.

So is it ever too late to go back to school? In one word – no. If you want to further your education go for it. Once you earn your degree it is something no one can take away from you, and it might be the key to unlocking better job opportunities. Plus you might just have a good time doing it.

 

 

Scholarships for Moms Give You a Second Chance at College

  • Posted on December 5, 2011 at 2:29 am

You may have started college right out of high school and had to quit to raise a family. You’re not alone; this is a common circumstance many women find themselves in. Life has a way of side tracking us and having children leaves little room for anything else let alone a college education. Now that you’re over 40 and your kids are either grown or in high school, this is the perfect time to finish your college education or begin it. Just because your 40 or beyond doesn’t mean you should give up on your dream of getting a college degree. Many moms are finding online college classes the perfect way to get their college degrees.

So How Do You Pay For It?

If you’re wondering how you’re going to pay for it, there are several scholarships for moms and grants you can take advantage of. The United States government awards over $150 million in grants each year to qualified students. One of the most popular is the Pell Grant. The great thing about grants is you don’t ever have to pay them back. To apply for the Pell Grant and see what other federal scholarships and grants you’re qualified for go to the FAFSA website and fill out the free form.

Many private scholarships are offered by associations and schools. For example the Fresh Start Scholarship awards $750 to $2,000 to 10 women undergraduate students in Delaware colleges. The Horizons Foundation Scholarship offers 5 to 10 women pursuing careers in defense $500 to $1,000 each year. The Counselor, Advocate, and Support Staff Scholarship Program awards up to 30 female students majoring in certain fields up to $3,000. As you can see there are several scholarships for moms out there.

Take the Plunge 

What are you waiting for? Now is the time to finish your degree or earn one. Education is an important asset to have. Studies show college graduates earn an extra $1 million in their lifetime. So take the plunge and start looking for scholarships and enroll in the school of your choice today. It’s a smart investment in the second half of your life.

 

Kindle Fire or Nook Color – A Comparison

  • Posted on November 28, 2011 at 8:23 pm

I’ve been looking at e-readers and have yet to decide if I really want one. To me there’s nothing like holding a book and connecting with the print on the pages. This might be because I’m a writer. I’ve said that to some people and they look at me like I’ve got two heads…but if you love to read I’m sure you know what I mean. E-readers have been out a while and while nothing beats a real book, I have to admit the idea of owning one is growing on me. The availability of thousands of books in an instant is appealing as well as the cool factor of the device.

If you’re a student over 40 and a bit old school you may be wondering which of the new e-reader models is best. Well that depends on what you want. Amazon’s Kindle offers you thousands of books in a moment plus some cool apps. The Nook on the other hand is designed primarily to be an e-reader. There is a Nook model that offers you limited Android apps, but it is a bit pricey. In a recent article by Kim Komando for Fox News.com she compares the Kindle and the Nook. She compares the latest versions and the benefits of both brands.

Kindle Fire

The newest version of the Kindle is the Kindle Fire. It lists for $199 on the Amazon.com website. You can also purchase accessories such as a leather cover with stand for $44.99, Klipsch headphones for $63.00 and a two year warranty  and accident protection for $44.99. Not really a bad deal when you consider what all the Kindle Fire offers.

  • Access to 18 million TV shows, movies, magazines, books and songs
  • Access to Netflix, Pandora, Hulu Plus and thousands of apps and games
  • Amazon offers you free cloud storage for your Amazon content
  • Extra wide touchscreen
  • Ability to download books and media from public libraries

The ability to download books from the library would come in handy when you’re crunched for time and need to finish a paper for your studies on how to become a software developer or any other online classes you may be taking.

Nook Color

The Nook Color is the newest model of the Nook Reader. Sold by Barnes and Noble, and its popularity is growing. It was named “best value in the tablet world” by msnbc.com. The Nook Color also sells for $199 making it a competitively price e-reader. Like the Kindle Fire you get many advanced benefits.

  • A VividView 7 inch touchscreen
  • Access to over 2.5 million magazines, books, and interactive children’s books
  • Popular apps like Angry Birds and music services
  • Email and web with video
  • Free Nook in store support
  • Netflix, Marvel graphic novels, and Hulu Plus are to be added soon according to Barnes and Noble.

Making Your Choice

It would seem to me both e-readers have great features and capabilities. The choice of which one to buy comes down to personal choice and what you want to do with your device. Both the Kindle and the Nook offer cheaper and less powerful versions of their devices so there’s a price point for almost every budget out there. Some users claim the Nook is easier to read, but Kindle lovers like the long lasting battery power. My advice is to try them both out. Find a friend who has one and give it a test drive. E-readers seem to be here for good and I know soon I’ll have one in my hands.

Advance Your Career with a Graduate Degree in Teaching

  • Posted on November 13, 2011 at 1:07 am

If you love your teaching career why not consider taking it a step further and pursue a graduate degree? This is the perfect decision to open up new doors for you and increase your earning potential. With a graduate degree you can teach in colleges and universities, become an administrator, specialize and conduct research. Most colleges, universities and research programs require a doctorate, but you can find many challenging positions with a masters in education degree.

ESL Class for Adults

One of the most challenging jobs is as an English as a Second Language teacher. In this job you will help immigrants and students overseas learn English. This is an important job since many people from all over the world come to America to start a new life. You may teach in an elementary or secondary school or you could teach adults to get a grasp of the English language and our culture to make their transition into American society easier. Some ESL teachers travel overseas to teach students English. Usually you need a masters degree in ESL education, although teachers with experience and that know a second language may be able to specialize in ESL. If you are bilingual this is a natural transition for you.

Dr. Sandra L. Shullman

Another challenging and job is as a school psychologist. School psychologists work with teachers and parents to develop a healthy environment for students. Part of their job is to counsel troubled students, but their job is much more than that. As a school psychologist you will look after the well being and emotional development of students and help to find ways to reinforce positive educational curriculums. They also work with students to improve their social skills, self image and to help them learn new ways of breaking old patterns of negative behavior.

These are just two jobs you can get with a graduate degree in teaching. If you want to help shape the future through the students of today, consider furthering your education and getting your graduate degree in teaching.

Landing Your First Job After Graduation

  • Posted on November 6, 2011 at 9:26 pm

Going back to school is a great decision to increase your earning potential. The United States Bureau of Labor Statistics studies show you will earn about $1 million dollars more in your lifetime with a bachelor degree than someone who has just a high school diploma. What could you do with $1 million dollars? The money you spend on your degree will be returned to you many times over. Online college courses are the best bet for working adults over 40 to continue their education. You can take classes on your time and be able to keep working and taking care of your family.

Once you graduate you’ll be facing the prospect of landing your first job with your new degree. Chances are you haven’t had to look for a new job in a while and the thought can be a bit daunting. On one hand you’re competing with much younger candidates, but on the other hand you have more life experience than young people fresh out of college. Don’t let doubt sabotage your chances of getting your dream job. If you believe in yourself, your skills and your education you can land the job you want.

Tips to Get the Job

If it’s been a while since you’ve joined the job hunting fray, you may need a short refresher course on having a polished resume and acing your interview. Here are some tips to get ready and get you working at a higher paying job with greater opportunities for advancement.

  • Your resume should be used to land an interview, not a job. You want to catch the attention of the interviewer and make him call you. Keep your resume to one page if possible and be brief in your descriptions. You can fill in all of the details once you get an interview.
  • Include a brief cover letter letting the person reading it know why they need to call you and no one else. List some of your skills and how you’ve been an asset to your current company. You’ve got the edge over someone straight out of school since you have job experience and have had time to prove yourself.
  • Proofread your resume and then have someone else proofread it. Typos translate into sloppy and will get your resume in the reject pile.
  • Use an active voice in your resume and cover letter. Do a keyword search for the job you want to find keywords to include in your resume. Some companies scan resumes and run them through a keyword program to see if they are relevant to the job. You can do this at the Google Keyword Research Tool on AdWords.
  • Avoid long paragraphs on your resume and in your cover letter. Bullet points are your friends. Keep them short and to the point. Business professionals are busy people and don’t want to take time reading long boring paragraphs.
  • Once you land the interview be professional and polished. You deal with people everyday and know that looking them in the eye and greeting them is important. Remember your body language. Don’t sit with your arms crossed in front of you or your legs crossed. These two actions translate into being closed off. Instead sit relaxed, but not too relaxed you don’t want to think you’re not taking the interview seriously, and don’t fidget.
  • After the interview shoot off a thank you note or email. This shows you’re really serious about wanting the job and can put you in front of the pack.

Although the economy is struggling and jobs are scarce, you can have the job of your dreams after you graduate. Remember you’ve got life experience and confidence behind you. And now you have the education you need to open up more doors. Do you have any tips on landing a job after graduation? What have been some things that worked or haven’t worked for you?

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