Going Back to School at 25

HeroHero formerly known as XGPHero

so i have come to the decision that it is time to make a major change in my life. I'm going back to school. I know there are Icrontians who may have some sage advice for moving forward, considering that i am not going straight out of high school. to be completely honest i dont know what kind of degree i want to pursue(i have so many interests) but I'm thinking this is a perfect time to get started on some general credits. i will need to be doing online courses(i live 150+ miles from the nearest college campus) that will be transferable in the near(a few months) future when i move back to California.
so i have no clue where to start, which is why i am asking you, my friends and trusted Icrontians, for help.



  • To start, make an appointment with the counselor at the college you apply for. They will help you pick general ed. classes. You can also look up the CSU system's transfer requirements / credit requirements and be aware that each year the CSU system gets a record number of applications so don't f*ck around when you start. Get good grades because there is ample competition.

  • KarmaKarma Likes yoga

    So I pretty much did that exact thing. Just e-mail an admissions person at the school in California you plan on going, and set up an a phone call time. They will let you know what you have to do. And if it's better to go non-degree post-bacc, post-bacc, or graduate school.

    Apply and get in.

    Also there is a good chance that you have many of the common core type classes taken from your first go around. But odds are you will have to send in your old transcripts to find out how it transfers over. Don't have to worry about test scores so there's that.

    After you send those in set up a phone call with a student adviser talk about classes, and your path. THEN I CANNOT STRESS THIS ENOUGH. Talk to a professor or a Dean in the school you actually want to take your classes in. I didn't do that, until after I started and it turns out I was taking unnecessary classes and that the Master's program was the better choice for me.

    I can't speak much for the application process where you plan on going, or if you look to take online classes elsewhere. I applied and about a week later got a letter from them basically welcoming me with open arms.

    @XGPHero‌ are you going back because you don't like the field you are in and want a better job. Or just out of interest in something? What are you debating among?

  • I have gone back to school at 39. I'm taking all online classes for various CompTIA certifications. I'm more interested in learning practical to my new field than I am getting a more rounded education at this point in my life. Frankly I think that is where you have to start. You just have to ask yourself that very difficult question because there are so many great answers. "Who am I?" "What would I enjoy doing for a living?"

    I will say online learning is a bit of a new world for me. You are mostly on your own. You have to be a good independent learner and well disciplined to see it through, but I think it is easier today than ever. So many great recourses to tap into and so many places you can go online for help if you are willing to put in the time and research it can be very convenient.

    I'm actually taking a study break now.

  • HeroHero formerly known as XGPHero

    so ill start by mentioning that when i say "going back to school" i mean starting college with no formal schooling since high school. (though there have been no shortage of lessons in that time.) ;)

    i am hoping to go to CSU Long Beach eventually, though if i have to go to Long Beach City first, it wont be the end of the world (i understand its pretty nice). in the mean time, i dont know what i should be looking for as far as online courses. should i take online courses at Long Beach City(even though i am still in texas and will be for several months)? or is there an accredited online school that i can enroll in until i am situated back in CA?

    As i said earlier, I have MANY interests. i suppose the most important things to me are not what i will be doing, but what kind of lifestyle will i be able to maintain with my chosen career? will i be able to live near the beach, will i be able to afford to do nice things spontaneously for friends and family? will i be able to support a family comfortably (as that is ultimately what i want from my life someday, a family)? after those questions are answered, i can perhaps pick from the career paths that have passed those initial tests. with my many interests, im sure something will grab me. after that i can start thinking about extras like hobbies.

    PS: your questions are helping me figure this out almost as much as your suggestions, so please, keep them coming. :thumbsup:

  • @XGPHero - What is your background? What are you good at? What do you do for a living right now?

  • I have two degrees from CSULB if you have any questions for alumnus.

  • HeroHero formerly known as XGPHero

    my background is all over the place...drafter(residential and commercial), PR/Marketing, Union carpenter, industrial equipment maintenance repair and install, food service, pool cleaner(that was my own company which actually did pretty well for a while), and right now im in general construction. these always ended primarily due to lack of funds, which eventually meant, i either couldnt pay rent anymore, or car issues that i couldnt afford to fix, etc. unfortunately without a degree for many of those jobs, my pay was next to nothing even though i was fully capable and in some cases even exceptional. hell, i managed to save the company i worked for as a drafter more than 1.5 million a year by presenting and implementing a switch from 2D drafting to 3D drafting, only to get canned a couple months after the switch because of layoffs based on "seniority"

  • KarmaKarma Likes yoga

    @Cliff_Forster‌ asking the important questions. College is expensive and a time sink. It will probably be a 4+ year process as you will have to start from scratch. So I'd suggest you do some searching. Engineering is always a good bet, but I don't know if that interests you or what not. So, @XGPHero‌ what experiences do you have? What really interests you?

    Is there anything you are nervous about? I know I was worried about being the oldest person in every class at 23. It turns out I was usually only the 5th oldest and only 2-3 years older than most of the students. There are plenty of people like you. Plus, college co-eds.

  • That is fantastic. Knowledge of computer drafting is a huge asset and something you can build on if you enjoy it. You might consider engineering disciplines where you might be able to work for a company while gaining knowledge of facets of the business. I worked about 14 years for Baltimore Aircoil. Most of the engineers there had some CAD drafting background. Design structural, design electrical, even sales support. It is a valuable skill. You might be able to get a couple of Autodesk certifications fairly fast first to get you in somewhere while you continue to build your degree.

  • HeroHero formerly known as XGPHero
    edited December 2014

    if i didnt have monetary concerns, i would go to school for the rest of my life...you know, just be a full time scholar, since i love to learn. since thats not a reality, i guess...i can probably explain it best with a little scenario...make that 2.

    Bad Scenario (for me)
    SOMEONE: How was your day?
    ME: Meh, Same ol' same ol'

    Good Scenario (for me)
    SOMEONE: How was your day?
    ME: Pretty good, i was working on "this project or that project" and its gonna be really great when its done. Let me tell you about it.

    So basicly i want do do something that is not merely a daily grind. just like in construction you can say things like, "i was working on the new library." i want to feel proud of something "substantial" something you can not necessarily touch, but you can have a sense of. when i was a vessel surveyors assistant i loved telling my friends and family about the boat that i surveyed that day. i once surveyed Slice of Life. :D

  • HeroHero formerly known as XGPHero

    @pirateninja, i will definitely hit you up when i have some specific questions. and @cliff_forster, while im not sure drafting is something i want to pursue as a career(a little bit of a bad taste in my mouth still) those certs might be a good opportunity for me to work while im going to school. ill have to put some serious thought into that. i might even have some contacts along those lines in CA.

    Anyway, im heading to sleep, as i have to work in the morning. ill check back tomorrow. you guys are so awesomesauce!

  • KarmaKarma Likes yoga
    edited December 2014

    @XGPHero‌ You've told us how you want to feel, after work but not necessarily what you want during work. Because everyone will get that feeling through a different means.

    From what you listed above experience is great:
    owning your own business----like holy shit that's some quality stuff there
    Sales-shows you can communicate with people
    Construction--don't mind getting dirty
    Lots of customer service---can take shit and get back up
    Drafting skills--I don't know really but seems like it's pretty damn useful

    So, once you get that degree you seem fairly employable. Now, what did you enjoy about all of those jobs you had before like specifically not a broad, "I felt like was part of something"? i.e building (creating) something with my hands, problem solving, interacting with people. These will probably help you figure it out.

    These are all things I wish I had asked myself originally. Then again I think I also changed.

    Oh once you know you what you want to do, and how you came to that conclusion it will help you get into school. Remember talking with an admissions officer once about stuff, she was telling me about how an applicant who had really poor test scores and not great grades but still made it into the somewhat "prestigious" school. She was a very good hairdresser and wanted to start her own business and wanted a business degree to help her do so. She ended up going to school where her other measurables would have been a non starter.

  • HeroHero formerly known as XGPHero

    i guess im being vague because im still trying to figure that out. maybe ill have a better answer tomorrow. although machanical design/engineering could be pretty awesome. just off the top of my head.

  • HeroHero formerly known as XGPHero

    so i did some research on degree programs that i might be interested in, and found that CSULB has pretty good aviation engineering, and mechanical engineering programs, so my goal tomorrow is speak to someone at the school about what needs to happen. i will also try to speak with someone at long beach city college to try to get my enrollment process moving, including such things as student aid, courses to take, and how to get it all done by the 28th if possible, so i can start this winter session. i know it wont be easy, and may not even be possible, but im gonna try.

  • KarmaKarma Likes yoga

    Good news is if you are interested in the engineering paths a lot of the early stuff you'd take in school is the same. i.e the maths, and physics requirements.

  • HeroHero formerly known as XGPHero

    yeah, and Long beach city college does in fact have some transferable credits to CSU, available as online courses no less, so if i can get enrollment taken care of by the cutoff, i could be taking classes in january. i just need to talk to some body there about which online courses i should take at city. if nothing else, i can start taking some humaities or something to get into "school mode"

  • KarmaKarma Likes yoga

    But @XGPHero‌ humanities is where you meet all the cuties.

  • Mechanical Engineer here. I loved school. It for me to figuring it the math and reasons behind all those hands on things you spoke about wanting to feel that sense of working on things to get a sense of accomplishment.

    You can get internships and coops during you sophomore/junior/senior/senior plus years that pay well to help with the cost of school.

    There's a really good chance that there are companies that work with your school that you can meet through career fairs and school projects, so getting a job should be easier than expected. There are always needs for mechanical engineers for people who make things.

    That being said, there are lots of mechanical engineers, and they sort of come across as a commodity. As a mechanical engineer, you can either do the job, or not. There isn't a really good measure of productivity, do is hard to stand out and excel. For that reason, almost all MechEs get paid roughly the same, depending on location.

    I spent five years working for a major company, during which I ended up specializing in gear design. Great if I planned on staying there, except I learned I personally didn't enjoy working at a large corporation. Now its a bit harder to transfer that experience since I ended up so specialized. But I'm confident I could find a job if I wanted.

    I now spend my time making things and designing things as my own business. It's fun, stressful. I'm still seeing how it turns out.

    I guess the point here is that you can do almost anything with said degree, especially if you focus on something you'd like to work in (robots/electronics, power plants, engines, hydraulics (yay fluids), structures, dynamics, etc.)

  • HeroHero formerly known as XGPHero

    hmm...sitting here talking over coffee with my mom, and it occured to me that as a mechanical engineer, i might be in a position to forward technologies for hydrogen vehicles, which i am a strong supporter of(as opposed to electric vehicles.)

  • drasnordrasnor Starship Operator Hawthorne, CA

    You might also consider civil engineering with your skill set and interest in survey.

  • MrTRiotMrTRiot Living in the North

    Both civil engineering and surveying are not for the faint of heart as they're very demanding careers. I would HIGHLY recommend taking some aptitude tests offered by colleges and universities as they're a great way to narrow down some of your choices

    And good job for going back to school! I was in the same boat a few years ago. It's way different when you actually want to be there and for something you love!

  • HeroHero formerly known as XGPHero

    I have spoken with someone from LBCC admissions, and i am beginning my enrollment process. i have commisioned the aid of my sister in california for my important documents(shes been holding them for me during my stay in texas.)
    once i have those i can complete my application and acouple days after that i will have my student ID number. with that in my hands i can move forward with financial aid. the next step after that is registering for classes. according to the person i spoke to at LBCC, this is all possible in the less than 2 weeks available to me. i just probably wont have a very wide selection of classes to choose from.

    Thank you guys all for your input and support, it really means a lot to me. :thumbsup:

  • HeroHero formerly known as XGPHero
    edited December 2014

    :scratch: ^
    EDIT: based on the lulz @linc got, i must not get that post...could someone please explain so i dont feel so stupid??

  • PacifistoPacifisto Turnip Extraordinaire Michigan

    Engineers are not particularly well known for their communication skills. The fact that the sentence after "Mechanical Engineer here" was all but unreadable was an indication that yes, he is in fact an engineer.

  • HeroHero formerly known as XGPHero
    edited December 2014

    maybe the fact that i not only understood his comment, but also didnt bat an eye at it is a good sign that i should be a mechanical engineer ;)

  • I blame my phone / lack of coffee when I posted it.

    But yes, words aren't the easiest thing for me ;)

  • HeroHero formerly known as XGPHero

    its ok, not many people could make so many grammatical errors and still be intelligible...thats talent ;)

  • NiGHTSNiGHTS San Diego

    Outgoing engineers talk to your shoes rather than their own.

  • LincLinc Bard Detroit

    @XGPHero said:
    maybe the fact that i not only understood his comment, but also didnt bat an eye at it is a good sign that i should be a mechanical engineer ;)

    Or a cryptographer.

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