Ageism Impacts Older Adults On College Campuses

Going to college with a busy work life and home life can be challenging enough, but studies show that older adults also have to deal with ageism on their college campuses. If you have opted to attend physical college classes, rather than gain an online education, you could be adding a number of hurdles to your college “career.”

Not only are you possibly adding a tricky commute, stressing extra over homework while you have a full-blown life happening 24/7, and working 8 hours a day as well, now you’re adding the extra stress of age-based stereotypes by others also earning their degree (or teaching).

Ageism Impacts Older Adults On College Campuses

While teachers tend to be a bit more lenient if they know your real-world life is packed with work, family obligations, and more, you might just get that one teacher that isn’t interested in “giving you a break.” Often you’ll find this is the case if your teacher is younger than you. This is a form of ageism that is difficult to fight.

You may also find that other “college-aged” students treat you differently because of your age. Perhaps they mock your decision to skip out on school early on, maybe they steer clear of you when asked to partner-up for projects, or even purposefully exclude you from study-groups and get-togethers.

Unfortunately in our current society it has to be assumed that age stereotypes will impact your decision to go to college later in life, but there are ways that you can work to combat ageism at school.

Join Or Create A Support And Study Group

While you might be excluded from other study groups and gatherings, be sure to create your own. If you have an extra half hour after class, see if any other students want to join. Don’t exclude based on age, but chances are if you’re dealing with ageism there are other older students dealing with it too – so be on the lookout for them.

Make A Goal For Yourself About Involvement

It can be massively challenging to be an active member of the campus community when you’re heading to classes between work-life and home-life. However, if you’re excited about eliminating the ageism you are dealing with, set a goal for yourself about how active you want to be at school. If your goal is attending one social event each month, be sure to do that. If you want to be involved by having a meal each week at the dining hall, do that. Try to stick with your goal even if it’s challenging the first few times – by creating a routine you’ll find it comes easier as time goes on.

Don’t Stay Silent

One of the ways that ageism is best combatted is by having conversations. Be sure to talk with your teachers and fellow students. Tell them how you’re feeling, and ask why they stereotype you based on your age. You’re interested in learning just like them, you enjoy the experience you’re receiving on campus – tell them that. Often, stereotypes cultivate because of a lack of knowledge.

Final Thoughts

Just like every aspect of your life, don’t let ageism get you down if you’ve made the decision to return to school later in life. You’re doing a great thing for yourself, for your family, and for your career. Do your best to alleviate the ageism you’re facing where you can, but remember, it’s all about getting that degree – don’t let stereotypes get in your way, try to push them aside.

Ageism Educational Resources

What is Ageism?

Ageism In The Workplace

Reverse Ageism At Work

Ageism Stereotypes

Ageism In Interviews

Ageism In Sports

Ageism In Society