Over 40 teacher, student prove it is never too late to go back to school

by Courtney Sharkey

Edwin Robinson and Christina McFarlin may live two completely different lives but there is one thing they have in common. Edwin Robinson and Christina McFarlin both have spent 20 plus years of their lives working in their careers before taking an interest in becoming a Glendale Community College Gaucho. Although Robinson became a Gaucho through teaching and McFarlin through expanding her education, they both share an experience at GCC being over the age of 40.

“I think people are shocked that I retired twice and have worked two jobs for the past 18 years. They wonder how I could have accomplished that at such a young age. I graduated from High School at 17 and joined the military at 18. My first retirement came at the young age of 38,” Robinson said. He feels as though he is still too young to take a break.

Robinson has turned his life’s work into a form of teaching for his students. His experience with Human Relations, Human Resources, Equal Employment Opportunity, Mediator and Social Science gives him the background he uses to be successful at teaching.

“My experience at Glendale Community College has been a blessing. I love teaching and making a difference in student lives,” Robinson said. He is very passionate about his job.

Robinson’s love of teaching is surely recognized by his students, who thrive in his classes and are able to take his experiences and what he teaches and apply it to their own lives. He has taught at GCC since the year 1997 and did not find the transition of working for the Military to working as a teacher a difficult one.

“I want to be a part of molding society by exchanging ideas between students and teachers. Even though I am the teacher, I learn from students as well,” Robinson said. He plans to formally retire from Arizona but will never stop teaching.

McFarlin has a slightly different story when it comes to becoming a Glendale Community College Gaucho. McFarlin a single mother, born and raised in Phoenix, Arizona, first started working as an Intern for a paper company which eventually turned into a full time job as an accountant, without the title.

“Money, better opportunities, free time, & the official title at the office,” said McFarlin as she explained the reasoning behind her going back to college.

McFarlin went back to school to get a degree in the field she has been in for the last 17 plus years because without the degree she will not earn the amount of money she could with it.

“Since returning back I did not consider going for anything else, but if I were to do it all over again I would have finished a lot sooner and would have become an English Teacher,” said McFarlin.

McFarlin’s story is a prime example of how even though 20 years of service was given to the paper company, without the security of a degree she would not make the earnings she deserved.

“I have a more open mind and better understanding in my job field,” McFarlin said. A lot has changed for her since she started as an Intern and becoming a Gaucho has helped her in reaching her goals and sharpening her skills in Accounting.

Both Robinson and McFarlin agree education is important and even after a long head start to becoming Gauchos, as long as you achieve your goals, there is no time limit on being successful.

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