I am a student and a retiree. I taught special education for 27 years, but I always had the desire to be a counselor. So as soon as my retirement papers were signed, I looked for a suitable program of study. I am now attending Argosy University full-time. At times I feel like I'm 20 again and just starting out on a long road towards a career. At other times, I realize that I have a lot to give to this profession in terms of life experience and education.
I am getting a masters degree in counseling with a concentration on marriage and family. But this is my second masters. My first was in special education. In terms of experience, I have probably seen or experienced a great deal more than the beginning college student. It is a strange a wonderful place to be.
I feel so excited to be where I am right now, but at the same time I sometimes doubt myself. I think maybe I am nuts for starting a new career at 63 years old when I will be ready for social security by the time I have my license. But I remember what Erikson said about the stages of life. In the seventh stage, Generativity Versus Stagnation, Erikson said if people fail to achieve a sense of personal competence they begin to stagnate and to die psychologically. At what stage of life do we put up our life's work? I contend, as did Albert Ellis founder of REBT, that we never stop doing our life's work. Therefore, I will continue in my pursuit of this wonderful new goal.
Carol Whiteley is a counseling student at Argosy University in Atlanta.