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Old 09-23-07, 07:54 AM   #1
Robert C
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Urban Planning, is 41 too late

I am thinking of returning to college when I return to the States in June. I am strongly considering pursuing my MA in Urban Planning. However, I have a couple of concerns. First, is 41 too late to start when pay and loans are taken into consideration? Is 41 too late in terms of how long it takes from college (I will be 43 at the soonest) to being productive and doing real work? Is it even possible to get a job at that age?

A little about me, I am in China teaching and traveling. I am not going to say that they do everything right; however, it has opened my eyes to many things that the US does wrong.

Prior to coming here I (in forward chronology, not reverse) worked for about ten years as an office machine repairman (copiers, faxes, and printers). Very simply, my knees could no longer take the constant getting down and back up off the ground.

I then took a position as a IS (information services) manager at a county agency. Due to my department privatizing it looked like I was going to need to find new work so I returned to college and completed my B.A. in Business Administration and Human Services Management.

Very simply, I never found work other than minimum wage or returning to truck driving (what I did prior to office machine repair). I returned to Office machine repair for about two years but was not able to continue.

So, I took a job as a Social Worker (Child Protective Services Investigator). I loved many aspects of the work. I like being outside and doing things; but, there were parts of the work (that I will not delve into) that made me just as glad when I was laid off. I have no desire to return to that.

After not being able to find a job, again, I decided to leave for China for two years. Those two years will end in June. That takes me back to my original question, am I too old for Urban Planning?
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Old 09-23-07, 09:04 AM   #2
Tom Stormcrowe
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I'm 47 and a college student. I'm 2 years in now and looking at the long haul to PhD. Does that answer your question in any way?

No, it isn't too late
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Old 09-23-07, 09:26 AM   #3
Shifty
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It will be a bit more difficult to break into a job in that field without direct experience, but never impossible. You'll have the best luck in a fast growing community where demand is high.

You have some ideas and experience from your time in China, start writing papers NOW. Document all your observations, gather facts and data sources while you are there, and organize everything so that you can get to it when you need it. As you start to develop your own ideas from this information, write it down, even think of submitting it to some UD journals, you may get some rejections, but you'll also get your name and citations out there if you get published. As you express your ideas, avoid mention of China, state your case between the way things are currently here, and ideas of how you would improve it HERE. The concepts will not directly transfer from there, you'll need to adapt ideas to our reality and infrastructure.

At your age everything is possible, especially with all the retirements of baby boomers over the next few years. You will not have any time to waste, you'll need to prepare, get the masters quickly, and make some great impressions as you look for work.

Best of luck to you.
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