You’re Never Too Old to Get a College Degree


Photo by: Sara Ohler

Teresa Randolph, journalism major at Fresno City College, reading articles in the newsroom on March 14, 2023.

Story By: Teresa Randolph, Reporter

I am 60 years old and in college at the same time, which means I can get my senior citizen discount at Denny’s and I have a student ID to ride the bus for free. 

Surprisingly, when I made the decision to go back to college and get a degree in journalism I experienced some negativity. My ex-landlord said, “Do you really think you have enough brain power for that?”

I didn’t realize I was at an age where my mental facilities were already on the decline. However, the comment pushed me to attain a 4.0 my first semester back. I’ll show them. 

Going back to college was the best thing I have done for myself in a very long time. A whole new world of knowledge has opened up to me, and I was thirsty for it. 

Here at Fresno City College I have noticed that there are others who are, let’s say, of a more mature age. 

Sometimes, when I see a person who appears over 40 in the cafeteria, or attending class, I give them a smile and a knowing glance. We’re the true rebels. We’ve decided to fight the odds. 

My motto is, “I’m not done yet.” So, I’m a late bloomer. What of it? I come to the table with some interesting tools in my bag.

Not only do I have my jade eye roller to reduce the puffiness in my eyes, but I have a whole lot of life experience too. 

Not everybody can learn about Watergate in a History 12 class, and then turn around and say to the class, “I lived that.”  I saw a man walk on the moon with my own eyes. I remember when push dial phones hung on the kitchen wall. 

My mom was telling me the other day…Yes, she’s still alive, and files her own taxes. Just kidding, she has an accountant, but I digress. Maybe I need a little more MCT oil in my coffee? 

Anyway, Mom said, “Tere, I read about a woman who got her college degree at 80. Isn’t that cool?” 

I know what you are thinking, “Does her mom really use the word “cool” in a sentence?” 

I decided to google “80-year-old graduates from college,” and right at the top of the search are two different 80 year-old-women who graduated from college.

Impressive, right? But, wait… Don’t stop there. Last year CNN covered a 91-year-old woman graduating from college. Wow! 

Joyce DeFauw received a Bachelor of General Studies from Northern Illinois University in 2022. 

Will she be paying off her student loans up until her 100’s? 

Notice how graduating at the age of 80 and beyond is worthy of a news story. What would happen if more senior citizens graduated from college after retirement? 

Could it be possible that this could become the norm rather than the exception? Why do we stop learning when we become more mature? 

I think the norm is standardized to us by the media, and in turn it reinforces our societal structure. It’s as if life after 40 doesn’t exist. 

We don’t see as many film or television storylines around older people. And when we do they are often stereotypes living the status quo. 

Grandma takes her meds, and says goofy things while wearing her shower cap in public. 

Going back to school is one of the best decisions I have made for myself in a really long time. It’s like being invited to a big playground of knowledge and inspiration. 

I am inspired by the younger students that I come in contact with. They are filled with such intelligence and curiosity. They are our future. 

Us more mature folks are our future too. We have an act three to live. It’s not too late to contribute to society in a positive way. 

My favorite quote is by Albert Einstein, “Only a life lived for others is a life worthwhile.” 

I think we can achieve this goal at any age, and going back to college can be a part of it.