Bachelor of Arts in Psychology, 2011
“Age is a state of mind… I’m definitely not ready for any rocking chair.”
Born the fourth of seven children in a two-room house on an oil lease in Markley, Texas, Jolene Rogers describes herself as a “70-year-old semi-retired freelance paralegal living on acreage north of Tyler, Texas.” She and her husband of 51 years have two sons, two daughters-in-law, and five grandchildren. “I was the first in my family to graduate from college,” Jolene says, “and I am the only one to be working on a Master’s degree.”
Academics were always something that came naturally to Jolene - she was a charter member of the National Honor Society in high school - but various life events prevented her from pursuing higher education. She dropped out of North Texas State University in 1960 to get married, and spent the next fifteen years working full-time and raising her sons. A college education was still a strong goal, so Jolene found time to attend night courses and earned her Associate of Arts in 1982.
“After earning my AA, I assumed I was through. However, a young friend of mine who was taking courses online at Ashford University convinced me to take a course in 2009. I opted for a psychology course, and the rest is history - I was soon determined to earn that Bachelor’s degree I had always so desperately wanted.”
Jolene slipped into the academic routine quickly, and says her greatest challenges were math and statistics. “Algebra II was as high as I went in math during high school, and a lot had changed since 1959. However, I am proud to announce that I came out with an ‘A’ in both courses. Some of my friends felt I might become intimidated by being in class with so many younger people, but it was not a factor - age is a state of mind.”
After two years of studying, Jolene boarded a plane bound for Clinton, IA, where she would walk across the stage and receive her diploma. “Graduation was a blast! I was able to meet several of my classmates. The ceremony was held outside, and it was a bit windy so we all worried about rain. God must think fondly of this University, though, because the rain held off until after the ceremony.”
While commencement was held in April 2011, Jolene actually finished her degree requirements in February - one week before her seventieth birthday. She didn’t waste any time deciding that she wasn’t ready to be done with college. “Two weeks after I finished my degree requirements, I enrolled at University of the Rockies (Ashford’s sister school).” Jolene is currently pursuing her Master of Arts in Psychology, Mediation and Conflict Resolution Specialization. “Had I started this journey 30 years ago, I would be planning on getting my doctorate degree, but I will probably be happy with my Master of Arts in Psychology. I’m definitely not ready for any rocking chair - I am progressing toward my own personal ‘self-actualization.’”