Unique Perspective

Last night I was inducted into the education honor society. It was a beautiful ceremony, complete with inspirational speeches, prayers and candles. I felt very much part of the college community, despite my ripe old age. There, I said it. I’m not a young’n anymore. However, this does not stop me from pursuing my dreams.

When people ask me whether they should go back to college as an “older” adult, I ask them if they were planning to retire in 3 to 4 years (or however long it would take to graduate). When they say no, then I point out that they would be turning that age anyway – why not with a degree too? I am extremely blessed because this is my second degree. My second career. And why not? We are multifaceted people. Many people have to change careers as they get older, for one reason or another. In my case, I took an opportunity and ran with it.

As an older adult in college, there are a few things to keep in mind. Firstly, we belong there just as much as everyone else, including high school graduates. I know that some may hesitate to speak up in class, for fear of coming across as the “older student who can’t stay quiet”. However, our perspective is unique and adds color to group discussions. Don’t hold back. Be yourself. We have years (maybe even decades) of experience that others can learn from. It’s okay to appear eager and attentive. We want to be there – why not show it?

Secondly, our challenges are different than younger students. We usually have jobs and families to juggle along with our studies. My advice is to find a certain time of day when no one interrupts you. My homework/study time is usually in the early morning. Yes, I get up too early and would rather be in bed. However, the early morning works for me because my mind is fresh and the house is quiet. I admit I also burn the midnight oil sometimes. I would be a liar if I said I had this completely figured out, but I do burn the candle at both ends for much of the semester. I’m still finding my balance here. One thing that helps is to plan ahead and use windows of opportunity. For example, when I knew I had a research paper to write and it would be due at the same time as essays from another class, I began to write the essays early so it would give me more time later. Of course, it helps that I love to write.

Thirdly, we can learn new things or refresh old – even geometry and algebra! I had to take a couple of college-of-education entry exams, which included math, reading and writing. After scheduling the exams, I began to study, especially for the math portions. It had been SO many years since I’d figured out these kinds of math problems and it was frustrating at first. I enlisted the help of my teenagers and used every resource I could, including library books and online exams/study guides. I filled out notebook after notebook of problems. I studied at every chance, including road trips and waiting at the dentist/doctor’s office. I took this quite seriously, as if I was taking a math course. Finally, I took the exams – a month apart – and I PASSED! Phew! My hard work paid off. I learned that you really are never too old to relearn math. Or anything.

Lastly, don’t worry about being the “oldest” in the classroom. So what? Get over it. There are always older people going back to college, even if they are not in your class. I met someone the other day who is getting a second masters and she’s at least two decades older than me! It’s actually great for our brains because we are putting off Alzheimer’s since we are challenging our brain cells. After studying for those math exams, I could practically feel my new brain cells growing!!  

If you get the opportunity, like me, to go back to school – DO IT!! It’s not easy, but it’s well worth it. Now, I’m considering taking on a leadership role in the honor society. It could be fun…

~~ Maggie


Posted by on May 1, 2013 in education, Health, Teaching, Writing


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Study Maybe — a Decade (or two) Later

Guess who is going back to college after what feels like FOREVER? Yep – me! Today is my first class and I’m so GEEKED – I’ve already read all the books.  So what if the books were mostly picture books – for Children’s Lit & Drama – but hey – I’m beyond excited, okay?🙂

Why am I going back NOW, especially when tuition is so expensive and I have two high schoolers who will be in college soon?  Why torture myself with late night studying and homework, projects and all that that entails? Two good reasons: I received a grant and I’m not paying a dime – even for books! Can you believe that? How can I pass that up? Secondly – I love learning and bettering myself — keep my mind active and all that.  I’ll have a teaching degree, so that’s cool.  Did I mention, it’s a FULL RIDE?🙂

Butterflies in my stomach? Maybe a couple, but mostly I can’t wait!  I know there have been a ton of changes since I went to college.  Obviously – technology will make things easier – like studying apps – flashcards and such.

Before I go get ready, I HAVE to watch Dodson Study Maybe – a hilarious video by a dedicated and amazing staff.  LOVE IT!

I’d love to hear from anyone else who went back to college after so many years.  What was your experience?  What were your challenges and how did you overcome them?  Any tips are welcome!!

~~ Maggie


Posted by on September 6, 2012 in education, Teaching, technology


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Book Review: Beneath the Slashings

Beneath the Slashings captivated my attention from beginning to end! It is Michelle Isenhoff’s third book in the Divided Decade Trilogy, but each book stands alone.  Not only is Isenhoff an expert storyteller, but she also teaches the reader a thing or two about history and — get this — she does it painlessly.

History was not my favorite subject in grade school, but I never read a book like this one back then.  Beneath the Slashings brings history to life!  The characters are convincing in their dialogue and have true-to-life problems and issues.  It is easy to picture the lumberjacks as they squabble or tease each other.   Also, Grace Nickerson is a compelling main character because she is easily relatable and filled with an appealing  sense of wonder.

It takes place in Michigan during post Civil War times, when soldiers are returning home.  It is an era of reconstruction, but 12- year old Grace Nickerson wants no part of it.  She wants to stay on the family farm and resume normalcy, thank you very much.  She lost so much already and craves the stability she’d get from the farm she’d known her whole life.  Her father, however, returns from the war with the firm decision to take her, and her twin brother Sam, far away to a lumber camp.  This dampens their relationship and sets off the journey from her familiar home in Saginaw County to the unknown forest in Manistee.

When Grace arrives at the Bear Creek Lumber Camp, she is fearful as she meets colorful characters with strange names like Fiddlesticks and Ivan.  Despite her anger at her father for taking her there in the first place, she starts to adjust to the completely different lifestyle.  However, she discovers that mayhem and even attempted murder are afoot.  Grace is determined to find out who is behind the wrongdoings, but she must first overcome her fears.

Readers can’t help but learn about history as they read this entertaining book.  Isenhoff is a children’s novelist who writes with students in mind.  Further, she provides teachers with a Classroom Resources Series to help them get “maximum mileage” of her books.

My favorite thing about the book is that the characters’ voices resonated with me for days after I finished reading it!  It was as if they were real people that I visited….back in time!

Rating for Beneath the Slashings, by Michelle Isenhoff:

Maggie’s View ~ Two Thumbs Up MUST READ!

For more information, go to:

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To purchase, go to:  KindleNookPaperbackSmashwords

“I write for kids.  In my books, you can expect adventure and substance, but I’ll always respect the innocence of our children.” Children’s Novelist, Michelle Isenhoff




Other books by Michelle Isenhoff:


Posted by on August 14, 2012 in kids, Teaching, Writing


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Call out to Writer Friends!

Reading and writing are my passions and occasionally, I have the honor of previewing a book before it is published.  When the manuscript is passed onto my hands (or laptop screen), I treat it gently because it is akin to a newborn.  It is the product of hard labor and sleepless nights and the author entrusts me to give an honest opinion about their “baby”.  I usually edit, to the best of my ability, and leave the good, the bad and the ugly in little notes along the side of the page.    However, this time, I was asked to be part of a Book Tour and publish my review online.

This is new for me as a blogger since I’m usually writing about traveling or teaching or life in general.  However,  I enjoyed writing the review and think it would be a nice addition to my blog.

My book review of Beneath the Slashings, by Michelle Isenhoff is part of her Blog Book Tour and will be published on August 14th.

Who knows — perhaps I’ll join the book review bandwagon! If that’s something you’re interested in, post here and let me know!

~~ Maggie


Posted by on August 3, 2012 in Writing


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I choose to remember the victims

What a sad sad day in America.  The Colorado movie massacre was a senseless tragedy.  My heart goes out to those poor victims and their friends and families.

My first reaction was probably like most people’s: shock.  Then came anger.  Who does this? (He is not a “he”, but an “it”.)

What the hell was the point?

Wait. I don’t even want to know “its” motivation – NOTHING justifies what “it” did.

Instead of focusing on “it”, who I refuse to acknowledge by name, I choose to remember the twelve victims.  They are the ones who deserve recognition and fame.  Their names should be the ones blasted out all over the internet and on the news channels.  Their lives were taken much too short, but they should be remembered.

The youngest was six.  The oldest was 51. One died on his birthday.  Several were fathers and mothers.  All were sons and daughters.  All were heroes.

Here’s a list of the victims, may they rest in peace.  The list is in alphabetical order and includes links to some of the stories about them.

  1. Jonathan Blunk, 26 years old – Jonathan Blunk’s wife talks about her family’s loss
  2. A.J. Boik, 18 years old – AJ Boik Among Those Killed In Theater Shooting 
  3. Gordon Cowden, 51 years old – At 51 Gordon Cowden was oldest of those slain in theater shooting
  4. Jessica Ghawi, 24 years old – Jessica Ghawi’s Family Wants to Focus on Victims, Not Colorado Shooter 
  5. Air Force Staff Sgt. Jesse Childress, 29 years old  – Jesse Childress Died Trying to Protect Friend at “Dark Knight” Massacre
  6. Navy Petty Officer 3rd Class John Thomas Larimer, 27 years old – Shooting victim John Larimer: Illinois sailor was youngest of five children
  7. Matt McQuinn, 27 years old –  Aurora shooting victims: Heroism and heartbreak as last moments revealed 
  8. Micayla Medek, 23 years old – Father of slaying victim Micayla Medek: ‘I lost a precious soul.’
  9. Veronica Moser-Sullivan, 6 years old – Double tragedy:  Aurora shooting victim learns her daughter was killed
  10. Alex Sullivan, 27 years old – Alex Sullivan was celebrating his 27th birthday at midnight showing
  11. Alex Teves, 24 years old –   Shooting victim Alex Teves had ‘a heart of gold,’ saved girlfriend
  12. Rebecca Wingo, 32 years old –  Rebecca Wingo, mom of two, among victims kill

I choose to remember the victims.

~~ Maggie


Posted by on July 23, 2012 in Family, news


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Travel Tip – staying connected for cheap

My adventures in Japan included walking about town in Asakusa where locals ride bikes everywhere.

Vending machines were abundant.

You could even buy BEER from vending machines. Hmmm…

Needless to say, I saw a lot of different customs.  To combat the culture shock, I was happy to stay in touch with family and friends back home.

I played Draw Something … on the bullet train en route to Hiroshima, Japan.

I introduced my host Japanese family in Toyota City, Japan…to my family back home in Michigan.  They even got a tour of my home (thanks to my daughter) and watched a YouTube video of my son’s garage band gig. How cool is that?

I kept up my blog posts, including pictures, during early jet lagged mornings and airport layovers…in Japan and later Seattle, Washington.  Writing as I went helped keep things fresh.

I exchanged texts with my teenagers in the U.S…while I was in Tokyo, Toyota City, Hiroshima and Kyoto.  I loved seeing what they were up to and they knew they could text me any time. Read the rest of this entry »


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Kyoto – Days 9 to End

Prior to leaving Hiroshima, we toured the Calbee (snacks) plant. What’s unique about these snacks is that many of them have shrimp!  Also, at this particular plant, none of them are fried.  I loved the snap peas snack the best.  I hope their snacks will one day be in America soon.

Like at most places we visited, we wore slippers (gray ones).  Then, when you go to the bathroom, you switch into bathroom slippers (pink ones).  I also switched to bathroom slippers at my host family’s home.

After the tour, we headed off to the train station.  Isn’t this little guy cute? In Japanese you say “kawii” –rhymes with Hawaii. The children learn to take train very young.

Their public telephone doesn’t look like ours, but what’s similar is that people only use it for emergencies since Read the rest of this entry »


Posted by on July 5, 2012 in kids, travel


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