Chris Gardner

The joys of self-publishing.

Going back to school when you’re old.


I have five sons, all grown up now, but they kept me pretty busy at home for around twenty years and I was happy being a full-time mum. When my youngest started school though, I decided to do something else. I couldn’t decide whether to do a course in visual art, something I’d always loved, or something more practical, like an up-skill of the office work I used to do. I’ll leave it up to them, I thought. Just do the entry tests for both and if I pass one, that’s the course for me.

So I passed them both and had to decide for myself; the art course was impractical, a silly idea really, so of course that was the one I chose. And loved (almost) every minute. Strangely enough, the subjects most of the students hated, those that involved writing, I thoroughly enjoyed, and after two years full time and three years part-time I went on to a writing and editing class. Even more fun. So then I had a Diploma of Art and Design and a Diploma of Professional Writing and Editing. Should have been enough, right?

Then the local university made us an offer–our two year diploma would be counted as one year at university if any of us wanted to  attempt a degree there. Of course I did. It wasn’t that easy a decision–I gave it some serious thought. Probably part of my decision to go for it was I’d met so many people who had university degrees and, quite frankly, they didn’t seem any more intelligent than me!

So, to cut a long story short, I graduated, with Honours, from uni in 2005, and absolutely loved it. Not every minute–I didn’t love all the assignments and some of the lectures were better than others but most of them were fascinating. I studied History, Philosophy of Religion, Women’s Studies and Literature. If anyone is considering gong back to school I can’t recommend the experience highly enough.

My book, Not Guilty, evolved from my Honours thesis and I’ve decided to put the original thesis on Amazon as well. It is an academic thesis, not a commercial true crime, but I’m sure some will find it of interest. If you do, please take the time to put a review up. Demented Mothers is free from 21st (US time) to the 25th October.


Author: cmsgardnerblog

I'm a writer of fiction and non-fiction, for teens and adults. I live in Central Victoria, Australia and my books are available at

6 thoughts on “Going back to school when you’re old.

  1. Good for you! I started at University at 38 and graduated 7 years later with an MA in American Indian Studies. I loved every minute of those 7 years and would have stayed to go for a PhD except I couldn’t decide which one to go for. 🙂 I have so many interests that there was no way to narrow my focus enough. Most of my classmates were the same age as my kids, which was sorta weird, especially when one of them asked me out! But I loved learning – still do – I just do it on my own now.

  2. One of my sons was at uni when I was, but a hundred miles away! I considered a PhD as well, Ruth, and my Honours tutor nagged me for quite a while but I decided, much as I’d like the right to be called Doctor, I couldn’t see myself teaching at uni and there didn’t seem much point. You never know though . . .

  3. Power to you! And Ruth there. And proof positive of something I’ve thought for a while, that education is far more enjoyable when you are old enough to understand what a privilege it is to have one. I did a degree straight out of school. I enjoyed it but I still cringe and my toes curl at the thought of doing another assignment or exam. If I was coming at it now, I expect that would be different.

    Do the PHD, one of my friends has one and she doesn’t teach at university, she writes books! She’s in my writers’ circle!



  4. Another one of those things wasted on the young? I agree education works best when the students actually want to be there–some of the young students in my classes were very enthusiastic, but all the oldies were.

  5. Just started reading the thesis. Interesting. Get back to it later when I am interuption free, will be interested to see your conclusions.

  6. Yes, it was very challenging but never boring.

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