Photo Essay

I'm Too Old to Go Back to School

Campus of Lewis & Clark Community College

At 41, I felt I was too old to go back to school. Do you know the saying, "too long in the tooth?" Thankfully it turns out, I was completely wrong.

After losing my job which was shut down and moved to the country of Columbia, I went to my local community college for training in a new field. After much thought and consideration, I decided on an associate degree in Graphic Design. Actually there wasn't much thought at all as it was the only thing I was remotely interested in. Give me something with as little math as possible. As I was already taking photographs, I chose to take two photography classes as electives. That brings me to the point of this story. I knew I would be taking photos in those classes and it would be fun, and we did, and it was. What surprised me were not the photo assignments in class, but the photo opportunities I got away from class.

My school was Lewis & Clark Community College in Godfrey, Illinois. If I had not gone back to school I would have missed out on its beautiful campus as it afforded me many wonderful pictures with its old buildings, sculptures, and botanical gardens. I would have missed out on working for the school newspaper "The Bridge," which gave me the opportunity to meet and photograph members from the Atlantic Records recording artists The Virgins when they stopped by for a visit to the WLCA studio, the school radio station. They played an acoustic set live in the studio, how cool is that. I would have missed meeting and photographing renowned artist Lennie Kesl who had an exhibit on campus. Just from the short time I spoke with him, I knew he was quite the character I have read about. I also got to meet Alexandra Cousteau, the daughter of Philippe Cousteau and the granddaughter of world famous French explorer and filmmaker Jacques-Yves Cousteau. Alexandra and her crew are filming a documentary about the world's water systems including the Mississippi River in the U.S. There was author James W. Loewen who came to campus to talk about his books. I of course missed out on some things, having to go to those pesky brain altering events called class. That's OK, shooting sports, campus events, the students, the teachers, and the student art shows were all wonderful opportunities for me to get my fix of this addiction called photography. I photographed situations I may never had otherwise. I also was nowhere near the oldest student on campus. Just goes to show, it's never too late.

Look what I would have missed had I not gone back to school at 41.

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7 responses

  • Pamela Johns

    Pamela Johns (Deleted) gave props (15 Jan 2010):

    At 49 I have gone back too. Thursday night on NBC is a sitcom called Community. You might be able to relate.

  • Pamela Johns

    Pamela Johns (Deleted) said (15 Jan 2010):

    Great story BTW.

  • Karen Menyhart

    Karen Menyhart gave props (15 Jan 2010):

    Nicely done! I am glad you went back to school! It shows

  • Jerry Pittman

    Jerry Pittman gave props (18 Jan 2010):

    A great story, Paul. My girlfriend graduated at 52. She is now an RN. I guess it's my turn. GMV

  • Victor Ursabia

    Victor Ursabia said (18 Jan 2010):

    very beautiful story, thank you for sharing! like the photos too... my vote!

  • Roxana Brivent-Barnes

    Roxana Brivent-Barnes said (16 Aug 2010):

    You went back to school at 41, I graduated at 41, my vote!

  • The Man Who Isn't There

    The Man Who Isn't There (Deleted) gave props (2 Oct 2011):

    Nice! My vote.

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