The Plight of the Older Student: Playing "Mom" and Other Tasks

Lynda B. Williams, PhD: The Plight of the Older Student: Playing "Mom" and Other Tasks

How to maintain good relationships with colleagues while being motivated to finish the program quickly.

Video Transcript

Dr. Lynda B. Williams's Bio

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Transcript: The Plight of the Older Student: Playing "Mom" and Other Tasks

It was notable to me that I was the only female student of the professor I worked with at University of Calgary, and he had been teaching for 30 years. I was a little bit worried about that, and I asked him why. He said he had never had a female who wanted to do a PhD with him. That was pretty curious for me, but he was an excellent mentor. At that time, I was a little bit older and so I think he really-the students he took on, he wanted to be focused and to know what they were doing and get in and out quickly. I fit that model for him. So it was okay, but being an older woman returning to school, I felt like I was mom because all the students would come to me with their problems whether they were social problems or just problems of inexperience in knowing how to solve problems that we were working on in class. So they actually began to call me mom, and I didn't like that very much even though I was a mom, but I wasn't that old. The other thing is when you're motivated to finish quickly, I worked every night that I was in school until 10:00. I didn't overdo it. I wasn't a wee hour of the morning person, but I was there from 7:00 a.m. 'til 10:00. I'd go home for dinner and see the kids and luckily my husband had dinner on, and I could go back. So I was there all the time so I could drop in anytime. It was not difficult at all to accomplish in that short amount of time what they did, just because I was focused and ready to do it.

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