Can You Really Go Back To School?

By Guy McClure

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When I received my diploma 28 years ago I thought my days of studying were over. Granted, in hindsight I realize that I didn’t study enough when I was in college – but at that time scholarly pursuits seemed an overwhelming burden for someone in their early twenties. Now, almost three decades since that commencement march, I’ve decided to go back to school for a second bachelor’s degree.

After 16 years of a career in higher education, I realize not only the importance of the actual degree but also the importance of what is learned by, practiced by, and instilled in a student in order to achieve it. To be totally honest, I don’t need this additional degree – but what I desire is the knowledge that comes with the process.

I am now classified as an Art major, or at least I will be starting in September. In my previous collegiate life, I would have thought of an art major as a beret-wearing, deep-thinking, free spirit. So maybe now, in my early fifties, this is signaling the beginning of a mid-life crisis if not a second childhood. Well, if that’s the case then I say bring it. I may still be able to pull off a beret and my spirit has longed to be free for quite a while.

There are two catalysts for my decision: 1. In my role as the Director of Marketing, Public Relations and Publications at Athens State University, I am very lucky to have the opportunity to use the creative recesses of my brain. The coursework required for this new degree will enhance my understanding of design, color, and composition – this will undoubtedly enhance my productivity in my career. 2. The new Alabama Center for the Arts complex in Decatur, a collaborative facility bringing together the art programs of Athens State University and Calhoun Community College is, in a word, awesome. Its opening in 2012 stirred something in me. The studios called me to be a part of it.

Another reason for this adventure was that I felt to be effective in my role at Athens State, I should see the institution from every angle. Employee: check…… Student: check….. Alumnus: I can see that too, someday. But in this new-found excitement about my upcoming artistic journey the thought of it coming to an end is a little depressing. Maybe I’ll go on to a Masters in Art or even obtain a PhD in the subject. Who knows? Maybe I will see Athens State from yet another angle. Professor: check……?

  • Kim Braden

    Good for you Guy! You will do great!

  • Amy Vanhorn

    What an inspiration, I graduated High School in 1987, in which I became a wife, and Mother of 4 boys, I have been attending college part time since 2009. It was the most rewarding decision of my life, hard but rewarding at the same time. I just turned 44 and I finally found MY place in this world after all these years……A Teacher……Loved the blog and push it gives us to continue our education no matter your age…Thanks Athens State!

  • Nicki Johns

    Good Luck, Guy. I for one don’t think my mind could handle college again!

  • Robert Mulligan

    Great writing and great inspiration. I’m returning to school to start my Master’s next month, and was a bit intimidated at the prospect of full-time school, having gotten my undergrad degree over twenty years ago. But, I’m excited, and your post gave me a shot of confidence. Thanks, Guy!