The Path Isn’t Always Easy (Part One)

“If anyone thinks they are too old for education, think again.”

Robert Cantrell

I am Robert Cantrell, a 54-year-young 2014 graduate of Tarrant County College. My wife Jelyn and I had our first child, John, when I was at the ripe age of 50. At the time, I was an oil field mechanic and truck driver working 60-plus hours per week. When John turned two I began to wonder how long my body would hold up doing this type of work. I always knew I wanted to further my education, but did not know what path to follow until I became interested in safety and health. There is a growing demand for the field, so I decided to research degree options and Tarrant County College was the first school that came up in the results. TCC even had a convenient campus location near my house. I decided if I was going to register for school I had to do it right then. I spoke with a TCC academic advisor, Nicole Graves, and she confirmed that I was making the right decision. Was I nervous? You better believe I was, after all I have a family to support!

After registering at TCC, I was still working full time while taking nine semester hours. When I saw my good grades at the end of the semester, I told myself (with a huge amount of joy) that I could do this. Since going to school part time would take four or five years to complete my associate degree, I spoke with my wife and we both agreed I should leave my job and go full steam ahead toward completing my degree. Now, here I am in the Fall of 2014, graduating with honors! I am also a proud member of Phi Theta Kappa, on the Dean’s List, and a recipient of the Who’s Who Award.

“If your dreams don’t scare you, then you’re not dreaming big enough!”


My advice for anyone out there wanting an education is that no matter your age or circumstances, it is never too late to dream big and go after that education. The great thing about education is that it does not discriminate, and no one can take it away from you. Education is for everyone. I give credit for my success first to God for giving me the strength and courage to take this step, and then to my wife, son and siblings for encouraging and supporting me. I give a special mention to TCC Professor Aline Williamson for running a great program. Aside from my son, this will be one of the best presents I ever received. Thank you for reading about my dream. I hope to read about yours in the future. TCC is an Achieving the Dream institution, after all!