Off the keyboard of RE
Published on the Doomstead Diner on May 27, 2013
Discuss this article at the Frostbite Falls Daily Rant inside the Diner
On The Myths of Retraining for Old Guys and Credentialism
A few months ago on the Diner right after he first Joined the Diner Crew of Collapse Bloggers and Pundits, Diner Lucid Dreams of Epiphany Now detailed his current Plan of Action to help secure his Family’s Future (since increased by one with the Birth of HT), which entailed quitting his work as a low paid EMT, going back to Skule for a Nursing Degree, and after completing said coursework hopefully latching on to a much BETTER paid job as a Nurse. In the Nursing Profession as it now exists, you can START at $50K in many locations, and if you work your way through Education and Experience to Nurse Practioner (practically as good as Doctor these days), make it into the 6 Figures in earning potential.
At first I was kind of Negative about this plan, mainly because I see the Medical System we have operating at the moment as likely to Collapse in fairly short order, but since LD has been able to Finance this mainly on Pell Grants and by living Poor with a Relative, it seemed more or less OK. No DEBT involved here at least! After a bit MORE chat, LD convinced me that this was an AWESOME way to increase Earning Potential, Be Of Service to the Community, AND Gain Skills necessary once the Collapse hits in earnest here. I became ENTHUSED with this idea, and decided I ALSO would pursue a Nursing License, despite the fact I am well into my 50s at this point and don’t need the money either. It just seemed like a great way to be of service to the Community when TSHTF, and a worthwhile Skill Set to have. So I made an application to the University of Alaska at Anchorage, UAA as it is referred to and forked over my $50 App Fee, to Transfer into their Nursing Program and hopefully take the required Nursing Courses inside of 2 years or so. I already have a Bachelors Degree with a Major in Biochemistry, and a Master’s Degree in Secondary Science Education, so I figured I am OVERQUALIFIED if anything for starting a Nursing education, and all I would need to take are the Nursing Specific Courses required for getting a License to earn the Big Buckolas in this Gate Kept Profession. How WRONG I was!
Besides my academic transcripts, I also spent 3 years teaching the MCAT, the exam Wannabee Doctors have to take if they wanna get into Med Skule. I myself took the MCAT, and scored in the 99th percentile on that exam when I took it, around 20 years ago or so now I think. At the time, in my mid-30s I was thinking of returning to Academia to retrain, but at the time I was DEAD FUCKING BROKE. I did not want to go into DEBT for another 4 years of Skuling (I just had got OUT of Debt filing Chapter 7 Bankruptcy), but the Navy at the time was short of Docs and offering to pay for Skule in return for an 8 year hitch. So I headed into the local Recruiting Office in Springfield MO where my Retired Mom was living and I was sharing the Apartment with her while Unemployed. I encountered a Recruiter who was about 25 and he looked at me as if I was completely OUTTA MY MIND, and I was quickly disabused of the notion the Navy would pay for a mid-30s individual to go back to Skule to learn Doctoring. I gave up on the idea and became a Truck Driver instead. LOL. Did pretty good at that financially over time, making close to 6 figures in the good years as an Owner-Operator. Of course getting there was no easy task either at that stage of my life, but at least it was POSSIBLE for a BROKE iconoclast. LOL. You can read about those days in the Over The Road series here on the Diner.
OK, so Fast Forward here 20 years or so, and I send my App into UAA to transfer in as a Nursing Major. Inside a month or so, I get back a letter of ACCEPTANCE! I have been admitted as a Nursing PRE-major at UAA! Gee, that was EZ I think to myself. I exchange a couple of Emails with a Nursing Advisor at UAA, and she lets me know I STILL need to submit another App to the Nursing School to be accepted as a Major there. To do this, I need to find 3 folks not related to me who will recommend me and write a Personal Essay on why I wannabee a Nurse. So I dig up a few semi-respectable people to write me a recommendation, and write my essay. Now my App is COMPLETE to the UAA Nursing School. However, nothing comes back on this for MONTHS.
In the intervening time, I attempt to make Contact with the Nursing Advisor on my Application. I send her a list of Online courses I will take for Credit by Examination if UAA will accept them. Said Exams cost around $300 a pop, but that is still cheaper than the $200/credit hour for an Alaska Resident at UAA, so I am trying to reduce my total costs here. The exams are offered by Excelsior University, an Online Arm of the State University of New York Credential system and a fully Accredited University both by the Middle States Accrediting Agency (who gave them rights to Accredit anyone?) AND the National Nursing Accrediting Agency. Another one you wonder WHY they can say whose program is sufficient to Accredit a Nurse?
What happens here now? Well, after listing about 20 courses I could take for Credit by Exam from Excelsior complete with links to the Curriculum, the Nursing Advisor at UAA simply STOPS responding to my Emails to her for Clarification on requirements and what might be accepted as transfer credit. She also does not return a single phone call I make to verbally ask her about this, and when I show up at UAA to see if I can meet with her, she is “Busy” in meetings with “Faculty”. AKA, I never get to hash out the issues with anybody at UAA.
FINALLY, after about 4 months of this Nonsense I get a Snail Mail Letter from the UAA Nursing School which tells me that I am NOT accepted into the Nursing Major, and not only that, I do not have BASIC Requirements in Chemistry, Biology, Philosophy and Writing! ROFLMAOPIMP. If I am to get IN to their Nursing Program, I gotta RETAKE courses I took 35 years ago and got STRAIGHT As in at a fucking Ivy League University!!!!! The letter ALSO indicates there are more Applicants to the Nursing Program each year than there are spots for “cohorts”, and I might have to wait a few YEARS to get accepted into their Program, assuming of course I fork over megabucks to retake courses at UAA I completed 35 years ago at Columbia. You see, basic Biology and Chemistry has changed a lot in 35 years…LOL.
So, OK, now besides doing my best to cause them GRIEF over at UAA, I start to look for Alternative Online means to get my Nursing Ticket, and go back to my friends at Excelsior who run a Nursing Degree Program. What I find out from them after a few emails is that they first off do not offer a Practical Program for Nursing Licensing, unless you are already working in the field in some manner, you can’t get a license to Nurse from Excelsior. Not only that, but any coursework in Anatomy & Physiology older than 5 years will not be accepted as transfer credit. You see, Human Anatomy & Physiology has CHANGED a lot in the last 5 years…LOL
Anyhow, as you can see here, to try to Retrain for another Profession as a 50+ individual is close to IMPOSSIBLE, and what you THOUGHT never Expired as Knowledge Gained in your College years in fact DOES expire! If you don’t get your ass into another credential program within say a Decade at most, the folks who Gate Keep this at the Universities which do the training simply will not accept it, and tell you you have to take it all over again! You CAN’T train to be a Nurse at 56 years old, not officially through the system and get Licensed to practice anyhow. You actually are probably SOL for this somewhere around 40 unless you have spent time in a related field like EMT.
Like with most of the Gate Kept professions like Doctoring, Lawyering and Dentistry, if you don’t get in on this Gravy Train early on in your life, you simply are shut out of doing it. It keeps the salaries up high for those who did pass the gate early on in their lives. Of all of them, perhaps Lawyering is the most possible to jump into later in life, but even here though while you might Get the License and Pass the Bar, if you are 50+ when you get your Ticket to Practice Law, you sure won’t be Recruited by a Fortune 500 Company to work in their Corporate Law Department, and you will just have to chase ambulances and offer your services to numerous people and biznesses going BK who cannot afford to pay you JACK SHIT! In case you were not aware of this, there are a LOT of Lawyers on the UE lines these days. I’m sure though I could walk right in to a Ph.D. Program in Anthropology at UAA, but there aren’t any JOBS in Anthropology! Certainly not for the 60+ individual I would be when I complete said Doctorate.
I never liked the whole University/Credential system when I first got involved with it as a Teenager, I like it even less now. You are forced to jump through innumerable Hoops to get your ticket, all of which cost a good deal of MONEY in one way or another, and MOST of which are thoroughly UNNECESSARY. The Nursing Curriculum requires Nurses to memorize gobs of Drugs and Gobs of Diseases and Gobs of Metabolic Functions, but do you know what Nurses ACTUALLY DO? They say “Yes Boss” to Doctors and follow PRECISELY what the Doc recommends on the Chart, or they are out on their ass before you can say “Ooops”. If you can read English and can stick a needle in somebody’s arm, you are qualified for most Nursing jobs. For a Surgical Nurse, you gotta learn how to hold a clamp and aspirate blood with a suction tube and wipe the Docs sweaty forehead with a towel on the job, but you don’t get the job without the Ticket.
Anyhow, I am letting go of the idea in this society I can “retrain” for any job in a Gate Kept Profession anymore at the age of 56. I most certainly will NOT fork over even $200/credit hour which is pretty cheap these days to retake courses I completed 35 years ago, and in more likelihood than not know more about than the dipshit non-Tenured Associate Professors employed by the University to teach these subjects. I am sure I would go positively BONKERS in class and make a complete NUISANCE of myself and get asked to leave all the time. LOL. I am going to pay MONEY to be asked to leave class so other students can “learn”? WTF?
So, back to the REAL WORLD for RE, I will just READ the vast Library of Medical Textbooks I downloaded from Books Great Choice for $40 for a Month of UNLIMITED Downloads, and commit as much as I can to my Memory. I won’t get the Practical Knowledge from this to apply it when TSHTF, I will have to just Wing It On The Fly then, and hope for the best. So be it. Hopefully I can jack enough into this decaying but still pretty capable brain not to fuck up too bad when Push Comes to Shove and I gotta at least TRY to Save somebody with what I know. If I fail, well, you Can’t Make an Omelette Without Breaking a Few Eggs.
To conclude, here is the very same Ian Anderson in 2008, near 40 years since he first performed Too Old to Rock & Roll, Too Young to Die, together with a bunch of other Old Fogey Musicians. Not quite the energy he had back then, but there are Flashes where his Eyeballs open up as they did in Da Old Days, and Ian is still not Too Old to Rock & Roll, or Too Young to Die. To my GenX and Millenial friends here on the Diner, I say to you that you can only HOPE to Rock On until you die, and we Boomer Doomer Rockers are gonna go down swinging. At least a few of us unreconstructed ones will anyhow. Then when the time comes, we’ll hit the A-1 doing around 120, and tears in our eyes, make the exit to the Great Beyond.
The old Rocker wore his hair too long,
wore his trouser cuffs too tight.
Unfashionable to the end — drank his ale too light.
Death’s head belt buckle — yesterday’s dreams —
the transport caf’ prophet of doom.
Ringing no change in his double-sewn seams
in his post-war-babe gloom.
Now he’s too old to Rock’n’Roll but he’s too young to die.
He once owned a Harley Davidson and a Triumph Bonneville.
Counted his friends in burned-out spark plugs
and prays that he always will.
But he’s the last of the blue blood greaser boys
all of his mates are doing time:
married with three kids up by the ring road
sold their souls straight down the line.
And some of them own little sports cars
and meet at the tennis club do’s.
For drinks on a Sunday — work on Monday.
They’ve thrown away their blue suede shoes.
Now they’re too old to Rock’n’Roll and they’re too young to die.
So the old Rocker gets out his bike
to make a ton before he takes his leave.
Up on the A1 by Scotch Corner
just like it used to be.
And as he flies — tears in his eyes —
his wind-whipped words echo the final take
and he hits the trunk road doing around 120
with no room left to brake.
And he was too old to Rock’n’Roll but he was too young to die.
No, you’re never too old to Rock’n’Roll if you’re too young to die.
So, one more time Ian, SING IT for the Boomer Doomers!