Q&A: Back to School as a Full-Grown Adult

From a real Rocketbook student.

Close your eyes and focus on the phrase “back-to-school”. What do you see? Chalkboards with fresh assignments? Elementary schoolers lined up in a playground? Maybe college students unpacking boxes in a tiny dorm?

If you thought any of the above, you’d be right. But those aren’t the only groups of people zipping up their backpacks and heading off to class. Often unseen are the middle-aged mothers and even grandparents returning to school this season.



Although this group may not be the poster child of the “back to school” season, they are making their voices heard in our Facebook group. So today, we’re sharing their story of lifelong learning and how Rocketbook is helping them.

Check out this post from the Rocketbook Users Facebook group of “forever students” offering encouragement to their peers:


Research shows that this crew of “nontraditional students” is much larger than you’d think: in 2018, 35% of American college students were 25 and older. That’s about 6.6 million students going “back” to school! Woah. And with the rise of virtual classes, it’s predicted that older student populations will grow much faster than younger students in the next few years. Bye, bye freshman 15.


Rocketbook Q&A

So who are these students returning to school at an older age? And why are they going back to school? Mary Ann Jacob, a forever student and Rocketbook user, answered these questions and shared what it’s like being an older student(and how her Rocketbook notebooks have come in clutch during the transition). So grab a cup of tea, take a 5 minute study break, and enjoy the interview.


What’s your age?

MA: 38.


When was the last time you went to school & what did you study?

MA: I went to Metro State College in 2004 and took classes for a little over a year to become an elementary school teacher. I became pregnant with my first son and I decided to take time off during delivery and his first couple years of life, returning to school when he was older. My son was becoming more challenging as he grew into his toddler years. I was astounded and overwhelmed by the difficulties of parenting. I no longer wanted to be a teacher. If parenting was so difficult I couldn’t possibly handle a classroom. I didn’t go back to school as I didn’t have any idea what I would study and couldn’t fathom wasting money paying for classes with no direction.


Mary Ann and her two sons


What are you studying now, and where do you see yourself once you graduate?

MA: I have applied to school to start a journey in Social Work. I plan on obtaining a Master’s Degree in the field.As I have grown and matured in life I have begun to think more about the legacy I want to leave in this world, and this has brought me to the realization that I wanted to “be the change I wish to see in the world”.


What has been the most difficult part of going back to school?

MA: I had been working as a General Manager at a hotel and when the pandemic hit it crippled the hospitality industry. My position was terminated as my company downsized in order to stay afloat. I was left with two children and no income.

The most difficult part now is the balancing act. My oldest son is 15 and is on the Autism Spectrum and the other is 13 and a type one diabetic. I got a job at a non profit agency that strives to alleviate food insecurity in my community. Studying, parenting and working is exhausting and rewarding.


How has your Rocketbook notebook helped you overcome this challenge?

MA: Rocketbook has helped me in so many ways. It has been an effective tool for managing everything going on in my life. The Panda Planner has helped me to understand my long term and short term goals and develop steps to meet them. It has been a useful tool in scheduling all the demands of parenting, work and school. I have one place to record doctor’s appointments, work schedule, classroom assignments, and day to day tasks such as getting taxes done, remembering important dates and paperwork for my children’s schools and vehicle maintenance appointments. It keeps me on track each day.


Mary Ann’s workspace featuring a Rocketbook Core and Panda Planner


MA: The Core notebook is an amazing tool as well. I have several and use one for each class to take notes from my textbooks and lectures. I use the app to keep all of my notes organized and love the fact that I can erase the pages and won’t end up with a bunch of used notebooks that take up the space in my home and still have peace of mind I can refer to notes from previous classes if needed. I have a set of cloud cards that I use for studying and memorization.


What has been the most rewarding part of returning to school?

MA: I just started school in January of this year. I am still eagerly awaiting my acceptance letter for the Bachelor Program of Social Work. At the moment the most rewarding part has been taking my very first class that was designed for the program. The class is Professional Communication and has taught us important skills in developing a trusting relationship with clients and communicating with clients effectively during therapy. This course has deepened my desire to help others and enhanced my conviction of participating in social work.


Students Unite

We greatly appreciate Mary Ann for sharing her story with us and allowing us to share it with other Rocketbook users. Her interview is a reminder that many other people are braving similar journeys with their education and career later in life, and that it’s never a walk in the park.

If you’re looking for tips and tricks on returning to school, check out our Rocketbook Facebook groups. It’s a great place to meet other forever students, get encouragement, and find out how Rocketbook notebooks can serve you in the process.

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