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The Next Stage Live Chat Transcript

Missed the chat with Jane and guests Tripp Hanson and Deborah Russell? Check it out here

Pauley: I’d like to underscore a point you may have missed in this morning’s segment on the Today show. When Tripp was a little boy, he was really serious about being a doctor when he grew up. Theater, dancing — nowhere on his radar until high school chemistry proved an insurmountable obstacle to his dreams of being a doctor.

But he told me that he had this sense on stage that there was a healing quality to a show — that audiences left feeling better. The point I want to make is that Tripp had a strong affinity for “healing.” He is more insightful about himself than most of us are but finding common affinities in very different categories is, I think, the secret of successful career transitions.

Comment from Elizabeth Craig: Tripp, I noticed the thread in your life — desire to be a doctor; when your Broadway audiences left they felt better — helping people was consistently coming through. Thank you for having shared more about how you figured that out! Congratulations on your new career!

Comment from Bill: Hi, Debra, Trip and Jane. How old is too old to go back to school, do you think?

Pauley: Bill, I’ve seen surveys that say that lifelong learning is one of the hallmarks of my generation and that going back to school for the sheer sake of being intellectually engaged is something a person would never outgrow.

But one thing a person might do before enrolling in school, particularly if it involves significant expense, is to do some homework and find out if the program you’re considering has a track record of matching graduates to actual work.

And by the way, I use “work” instead of “job” because not everyone, as we get older, is looking for a paycheck. Many of us want to remain involved, productive and engaged in life.

Comment from Dr. Debra Weiss: Bill, It's never too late! There was one 92-year-old student at my master's graduation from Teachers College in 2007. I think it depends on your intention. My focus was so much stronger this time around than when I was an undergraduate.

Pauley: I wanted to talk about that this morning on the Today show. I so admire Tripp for not just going back to school, but taking a pretty demanding program. I think it would be harder for me to learn today, but my ability to focus is so much better than when I was an undergraduate. And now I’m not looking for a boyfriend.

Comment from Dr. Debra Weiss: Bill, you could start with one class and see how you like the subject and the workload.

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