Starting college at 45 didn’t seem possible when Cindy Stringer’s boss suggested it several years ago. Now, Stringer is working on both her bachelor’s and her master’s degree in accounting in a dual program at Texas Wesleyan.
It hasn’t been easy for the single mother who has two part-time jobs and attends school full time to maintain a 4.0 grade point average. But, Stringer said, she manages by making lists and prioritizing, even when it means her social life suffers.
She said her attitude is different from some of the younger classmates, who might be content to scrape by with a minimum passing grade.
“Maybe I’m an overachiever, but I feel like if you’re going to put the effort into it, pull all of the effort into it,” Stringer said.
Stringer works part-time for a certified public accountant who was the one who made the suggestion she go to school. She didn’t think she would have time for school.
“Starting a whole new career at 45 years old is kind of daunting,” she said.
But after taking a couple classes at a community college, Stringer realized that she was doing well and enjoyed school. After earning her associate’s degree two years ago, she started in the business school at Wesleyan.
She said she enjoys the smaller classroom sizes and access to professors, who are supportive.
Stringer has two more years before completing her master’s and becoming a certified public accountant. She hopes to either take over her boss’ business or start her own accounting business when she is finished.
“I just keep telling myself, it’s just one more [semester] down. You can do it.”
While she finishes school, she’ll continue working part time and running her own business making stained glass windows, which was a hobby she turned into a job after her husband died 17 years ago.
Creating the windows is more than a job; it’s a creative outlet for Stringer.
“I can go into my shop and work on a window, and I don’t have to think real hard,” she said. “It gives me a chance to be creative and do something besides adding figures.”