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The New Social Worker is the quarterly magazine for social work students and recent graduates, focusing on social work careers for those new to the profession. This blog is a companion to the free online magazine at http://www.socialworker.com.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

A Birthday Present


ONE OF MY GOALS IN LIFE was to get my Master's degree by the time I was 50 years old. Well, today is my 50th birthday. I will march in our graduation ceremonies in May.

I was 48 when when I started this journey, and I want to say to anyone who is considering going back to school to get a Bachelor's, Master's or Doctorate: Do it! It's never too late to begin again.

Why didn't I do it sooner? I wasn't ready. I had other priorities in life, and there wasn't room for school. Getting a degree is a huge commitment that takes time and energy. Most of all, you have to want to do it. The desire to attempt, and then achieve it, must be greater than anything else. Because you won't have much time for anything -- or anyone -- else.

I am grateful for my husband. He has pulled more than his share of the weight during this time. He's worked more hours and several jobs. He's supported me while I put school first, and I know that's not been easy.

As I ring in this half-century of life, I am amazed and grateful and surprised and thrilled. I don't feel 50 and most people say I don't look it. But I embrace it because I know that I can do anything, at any age, if I put my mind to it.

~Ms. T. J.

18 comments:

  1. Happy birthday T.J., and what a wonderful present you are giving yourself for your 50th birthday! I am also a non-traditional student, started my MSW at 52, and am now taking a break from school due to financial issues. I am hoping to get my Masters degree by age 60! Betsy

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  2. Happy Birthday!!!!! 8-)

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  3. Happy birthday, TJ!

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  4. I know how you're feeling...I am 45 and in the middle of my "sozialpädagogik" studies. Sometimes its hard and I have to tell myself that this is what I wanted ;) Happy Birthday and enjoy what you have accomplished

    Greetings from Kat (Switzerland/Germany) working with families

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  5. Happy Belated Birthday T.J.!  Thank you for the inspiration to keep moving forward.  I was struggling today to read the 7 chapters I have left of "Helping Bereaved Children" by Nancy Boyd Webb for one of my MSW classes.  I am a non-traditional student as well and I keep envisioning graduation day in August 2010-I know I will cry, actually I am crying right now just thinking about it.  I keep telling myself-I can do it-only 4 more weeks of this semester and then a little break to give my daughters and husband some fun time. :)

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  6. Congratulations and Happy birthday!

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  7. Congratulations and Happy Birthday TJ. I hit the big 5-0 and convocated with my MSW on the same weekend. Way to go. You should be insanely proud of yourself. What a fabulous birthday present to give yourself.

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  8. student of community collegeNovember 24, 2009 at 1:15 AM

    wising you you happy birthday on your 50th Birth Day

    I wish you will achieve your goals and god will help you to do that

    _____________________________
    Student of community college make a wish for you !

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  9. Insanely proud says it so well, Carolyn!

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  10. You can do it, Lavon. We can do it. I, too, am looking at what feels like an insurmountable project.  One peice at a time, is my mantra. Tonight I outlined the work.... tomorrow I will take another piece of it to task.

    ~Ms. T. J.

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  11. Kat!
    Awesome that you are writing from Switzerland. Your country is on my list of places I want to visit in this lifetime.  I totally relate to your comment about having to tell yourself that this is what you wanted! Me, too.  Sometimes I even forget why I wanted it!

    Thanks again!
    Ms. T. J.

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  12. Thank you so much, Amy.
    ~Ms. T. J.

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  13. Betsy-
    You will do it! Perhaps this break is a necessary part of the process for you. I have a friend who is somewhere between my age and your age, I believe, and she, too, had to take a break. She is back on track and stronger as a result of the break.
    ~Ms. T. J.

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  14. Definitely congrats to Ms. T.J.  My 60th birthday present to myself was acceptance into the MSW program here where I live, and I'll start in August at 61-1/3 (ironically I was working in a job for which a MSW was normally required at 24).  Would love to have input from any others out there!

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  15. Jean!
    That is wonderful news. Congratulations, indeed, to YOU! My biggest piece of advice is to get a good calendar and chart all your assignments, classes, meetings, etc. to help you stay on track.  And then: Stay on track! Try not to get behind and you will be fine. (And, if you get behind, just catch up!) You can do it. You are already doing it.  Take care of yourself as best you can.  And, reach out to others who are doing it, or have done it in the past.
    ~Ms. T. J.

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