Write this down: handwritten note taking still in vogue


School (Photo credit: The Library of Virginia)

School just seems sweeter this time around.

Things like showing up on time, being prepared, studying and taking notes are still as important now as they were when I last attended.

Since that was a while ago, I find the sense of familiarity comforting as I attend classes that upon completion will leave me fully qualified to embark on a new career as a Medical Coding Specialist.

Aside from feeling a bit squeezed when I sit in some desk chairs, I feel I am fitting in just fine. All of my classmates are on the same page: we are studying hard and trying to do our best; at least I believe that is what the majority of us are doing.

One thing that has been shocking is tuition costs. But it is what it is. Education is not inexpensive and when you look at it as an investment in yourself, you most definitely feel you are worth it.

I recently read that I am part of a growing trend of older folks returning to school. Not one to really want to be part of any “trend,” in this instance I don’t mind as it is mostly out of necessity.

diatype photographic typesetting machine by H....

diatype photographic typesetting machine by H. Berthold AG (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Much of the work I have done for companies in my recent work history has involved typesetting, pre-press and composition. The company I last worked for did not have an office in the part of the country I moved to. And due to the sensitive nature of the work and the potential liability that could be incurred, working remotely was not an option. Plus, the only place you can still be a typesetter is with a financial printer. The industry is automating rapidly, too, while many of the public companies that previously did business with them, are now performing their own filings and related reporting.

So, what is a worker in a contracting industry supposed to do?

Go back to school and learn something new that can position you for a job with a better future, that’s what.

Once I researched, figured out what I could do that would interest me and how I would go about getting there, my fears were allayed.

Now that I have been in classes over a month, my insecurities about being in a classroom setting full-time again have been put to rest, too.

Although some students use tablets in some of their classes, the good majority still take notes from instructors the old-fashioned way–writing them by hand. As someone who can still type a little, I suppose I could take notes on a laptop. I do oftentimes type up the notes I take by hand during lectures afterwards, but it’s pretty cool to see students taking notes the same way I did back in the day.

Talk about what is old is new again.

E-learning short courses

E-learning short courses (Photo credit: London College of Fashion short courses)

Online classes are a wonderful option for those juggling work and school. But after chatting up some of my classmates about online learning, many related that if you at all procrastinate (who me? I’ll finish this tomorrow), online studies may not be the best for you.

For me, although I was originally enrolled for a completely online curriculum, I opted for full-time classes because I could earn my diploma and certification sooner.

I am so glad I did. Interacting with fellow classmates as well as instructors is fun and engaging. Plus, I am making friends, gaining valuable knowledge, networking and having fun.

My advice in closing is do not think returning to school is daunting.

Yes, studying, being prepared, taking quizzes, tests and exams is stressful at times, but how you feel and what you get in return while applying yourself to any given task at hand—all the while being mindful of your goal of graduation, is most definitely worth it.

And double yes. I am an older, returning college student and have a long way to go, but school, like life, when given the tools to be successful, never gets old.



4 replies »

  1. Hey Bob, congratulations on going back to school. I’m right there with ya. I have 4 more classes before getting my AAS in Web Graphic Design from DeVry. It’s been pretty tough (and expensive), especially since the classes are all accelerated into 8 weeks, so you are doing twice as much work in half the time, but I will finish sooner. I know what you are talking about in classroom vs. online, as over the years I’ve taken both at several schools. I prefer the on-campus classes for all the reasons you state, but a lot of classes I need are only available online because of my 2nd shift work schedule. Ugh! I’m currently taking an Adobe Flash class online that is very challenging to say the least! One of the pros of online classes is that all the tests and finals are open book, which reduces my memory stress level!! It’s also kind of strange being the oldest person in the classroom, with many of the other students being young than my daughter. Half of them are on Facebook, email or surfing the web when the Professor is lecturing, and they wonder why they fail the tests. Must be nice to go to school on the government’s, or Daddy’s dime.

    My wife tried taking medical coding classes several years ago and gave up after her second class, which was, I think, a medical terminology class that just about killed her! LOL!

    Good luck and keep us posted on how you are doing!


    • I find it is so much a matter of doing the work and coming to school prepared. College prepares people for the work force. Coming from the work force to the school setting already gives us the work ethic as we could not have maintained our working careers for as long as we have without having that good work ethic.

      And speaking of work, it sounds like you are doing a lot, too, Tony! I am glad you are able to better yourself and skill sets while you work. It’s a heavy load and a tough road for sure, and the juggling act is pretty constant also.

      My medical terminology classes are challenging. I am using flash cards as suggested to help with my retention and memorization.

      Happy to hear there is light at the end of the tunnel for you in your studies. You are always learning, seeking continuous improvement, and for this you can be proud. Doesn’t hurt future job security prospects, too.

      Thanks very much for your comments, Tony. And I will keep you “posted” on my progress as I continue. It (posting) is what I do (here)! 🙂



    • Haha! I am the most, ahem, mature person in class–including the teachers! But I am totally having a blast and enjoying it. I think you should go back to school soon, too, Denise. Thanks for stopping by, and dear readers, please drop by Denise’s blog for some wonderful food for thought.


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