continued from page 8
older student sets incredibly high
standards for herself and often
becomes a perfectionist, causing
more problems," said Dr. Joy
Wilson, professor of English at
the University of St. Thomas.
To assist such students, Dr.
Wilson formed ENCORE, a supportive organization designed to
encourage older students who
often feel insecure on campus.
"We discuss mutual problems
that older students face, such as
fear of exams. I even help
students find apartments and
babysitters," said Dr. Wilson.
"Anything supportive is helpful.'
The small enrollment at the
University of St. Thomas (1500)
and at Houston Baptist University (1693) affords better student-
faculty rapport, according to Dr.
Joyce deRidder, professor at
Houston Baptist University. Dr.
DeRidder teaches a course on
"Middle Age and Aging" and
plans to formulate a program
similar to St. Thomas's ENCORE
in the spring.
"The older student mainly
needs to know she isn't alone —
there are others who share her
problems. I plan to have social
gatherings where we can discuss
these problems and share our
feelings. Professors, too, need to
look at the issue of the older
students and establish new ways
of relating to them as adults."
The highest percentage of
older female students is at the
University of Houston where the
total enrollment is 29,000; 17,000
male, 12,000 female and 2,500 in
the over-30 group.
"It is difficult for some women
to begin college after having
been away from school for a long
time," admitted Connie Wallace,
Associate Dean of Students at
UH. "Many women are afraid
when they first come out here.
They have a fear of failure and
feel insecure about acceptance in
classes. They are very concerned
about whether they can keep up
with their other activities, like
housekeeping and child care."
DR. JOYCE DE RIDDER
UH sponsored a Project Re-
Entry Program in 1973, '74, and
'75, which was designed to give
information and advice about
returning to college. It was
discontinued because of a lack of
response from the women it was
designed to help. However, the
Continuing Education Center at
UH has initiated a Contemporary
Woman Series which is a program of credit-free workshops
The general feeling among the
women I talked with, however, is
that you're on your own, no
matter how many programs,
lectures, and conferences are
designed to assist you.
"Be sure this is what you want
to do," several women advised.
"Don't just go into it for a lark.
It's expensive, it's time-consuming, it's serious."
Professors may sympathize
with you for a while, but if you
miss too many classes because
Johnny is sick with a cold or you
are late handing in a paper
because you went on a convention trip with your husband, don't
expect the professors to be
lenient. They aren't.
Another word of advice concerned overdoing it — many
women make the mistake of
thinking they can take a full load
of studies and still manage to be
The Perfect Wife and Mother.
You can't, so don't even try.
Accept that fact and schedule
your classes accordingly. If you
have small children, start slowly.
It may take you several years, but
it you really want a degree, you'll
get it. One woman I spoke with
has been in college for 20 years
but she'll receive her Ph.D. next
year and she says it was well
worth the time. Another woman
gave up a 10-year career as a
nurse in order to work towards a
degree in psychology.
All the women I talked to
agreed that the most difficult
thing about college is walking.
It's first-come, first-parked on
the crowded campuses in Houston and your classes might be a
mile or more from the parking
space. So if you're really serious
about going to college, get a comfortable pair of shoes.
To explore the
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Houston Breakthrough • February 1977 • Page 15