Attending College in Midlife
Feb 20, 2019
We know many of our students at Concorde are not what are considered âtraditional students.â Many come to Concorde when theyâre older than what is considered âcollege age.â They arrive in midlife, after working in another career field â or, in a health care-related field â for decades. More return to college after earning a degree in an unrelated field earlier. Others come to Concorde because they know they need a change in their lives for the better.
Returning to college in midlife can be challenging. But, it certainly can be accomplished. There is no greater example than one we have on Concordeâs campus in Memphis, Tenn. Health Information Management instructor Nancy Hales earned a bachelorâs degree in education counseling decades ago, in what hardly would be considered a conventional manner. Then recently, at age 60, she earned a masterâs in business administration.
Itâs a remarkable story of perseverance and thirst for knowledge and education. It makes Hales one of Concorde â Memphisâ greatest assets.
The long road to a degree
Here is how Hales describes her educational journey and road to Concorde â Memphis as a Health Information Management instructor.
âMy story really starts with my bachelorâs degree, which took me more than 12 years to complete,â Hales said. âI was trying to pay as I went and sometimes would have budget constraints and have to stop and start and start again. The important thing is that I persisted and got that first degree.
âThat was one of my greatest accomplishments.â
Joining the Health Information Management program at Concorde
Hales has been an instructor at Concorde off and on for more than 13 years.
âWorking at Concorde is what actually encouraged me to continue my education,â she said. âWhen I started in the Health Information Management program in 2013, I found myself challenged by the intelligent and hardworking students in the program. I knew I needed to know more to be a better instructor.â
Representatives of nearby Bethel University attended a staff meeting Hales attended and talked about a masterâs program for Health Information Management.
âMy course was clear,â she said. âI got all my materials together and enrolled.â
Hales had her masterâs in business administration with a health care concentration a couple of years - and a lot of hard work - later.
âIt was one of the best moments of my life to walk across that stage and be handed that degree at 60 years of age,â she said. âI am living proof that you can do for yourself, to better yourself and be a benefit in life to others.â
Hales encourages all those who gain that knowledge and education to share it with others.
âKnowledge is one of the most powerful things in life, especially if you share it,â she said. âI hope my story will help someone else that is struggling with a decision to attend (college) or with their studies once enrolled.â