A few years ago, Rob J. Rock, 44, had a gratifying full-time job at a small video-production house in Coldwater, Mich. Then he got laid off and was replaced by two younger employees he had trained.
"That's when I knew I had to go back to college," he says.
Mr. Rock had finished high school in 1986 and attended a community college in Warren, Mich., but dropped out before earning a degree or enough credits to transfer. This time around he's enrolled part time at Kellogg Community College, in Battle Creek, Mich., while working as a customer-service representative at the college's Grahl Center Campus. He is on track to graduate this spring with an associate degree in general studies.
Mr. Rock reflects, laughing, on his long gap between graduating from high school and earning a college degree: "It took me almost 25 years to get back." Recently divorced, he knows his campus job won't last forever, and he plans to go into the work force right after graduation.
Still, he wants to continue attending the college and earn associate degrees in graphic design and photography, two of his passions. If he's working full time, he says, he should finish those in another couple of years.
More 'Students Who Don't Count':
Marianne Durling: 3 Years, 4 Degrees
Yolanda Hubbard: Sometimes a Bachelor's Takes 30 Years
Jordan P. Muntz: Community College Finally Proves a Good Fit
Terrence Rencher: Ex-NBA Player Went Back for His Degree
Rob J. Rock: 25 Years After High School, Degrees in Sight
Shannon Williams: Career Uncertainty Ends on Ph.D. Track
Daniel: A Veteran Embraces Academics