The Advice Column THE VOICE - September 11, 2002

Dear Sandra:

I am a full-time university student in my thirties.

I’m proud to be completing my education, even if I did start later than a lot of others. The problem is that many of my friends and family members cannot understand why I’m in school at my age, instead of working.

How should I respond to people who want to know when I’m going to finish school and get a full-time job? I feel guilty when I’m asked about this, and I feel that I have to make excuses for why I’m not done my degree yet.

Guilty Student

Dear Guilty Student,

It is human nature for people to envy others who are achieving great things. You are achieving great things and you have no reason to feel guilty. If anyone should feel guilty it should be those people who are directing these ridiculous questions at you. Family and friends are the closest people to you and it is frustrating when then cannot support you in something you are so passionate about. Believe me, when you have accomplished a degree and you are earning more than what you previously earned or are happier with your new career than you were before, these people will be not be so quick to condemn your decision to return to school.

Attending university is no easy feat, many people are still convinced that students at AU are completing degrees similar to those mail order colleges in the States that promote themselves with coupon mail outs where you can pick a diploma from the list of stickers, lick and stick it to the postage paid reply card and a few months later you will be accredited. I suppose this gives many people the impression that AU is easy and simple. Completing university courses or degrees at any age, whether it is at 20 or 80, takes an extremely dedicated and hard-working person. In most cases completing your education is more difficult than performing the job it leads up to. Any AU student can attest to this especially since most of us are completing 3-6 courses a semester, holding down jobs, raising families and still trying to have something that resembles a personal life for an average of four years. When these people ask you when you will be finishing school and getting a real a job, hold your head up high, ignore that air of ignorance in their voice and tell them that you are already working full-time toward your dream.

This column is for entertainment only. Sandra is not a professional counsellor, but is an AU student who would like to give personal advice about school and life to her peers. Please forward your questions to Sandra care of

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