Tuesday, February 20, 2007

A Non-Traditional Student

It's a fact that a large percentage of the staff at Kankakee Public Library are currently students of some sort. High school, undergrads, grad students, you name it - you can find them here at the library. Which brings me to the topic of this blog post - the non-traditional student. I, along with many others, happen to reside in this demographic of non-traditional student. I am a 31-year-old (it's true!), married mother of a teenager, embarking upon a brand new career in health care. A co-worker/friend asked me the other day what my perspective on college is now as opposed to when I first started my collegiate journey 12 years ago. I had much to offer.

There are major differences:

1) The financial responsibility that is now mine instead of my parent's.
Gone is the hope for talent based scholarships and work study to supplement my weekly existence. Tuition these days is my problem and mine alone.

2) My grades are outstanding. The distractions that prey upon people in their early 20s are no longer an option for me, so I can focus on my studies better. Besides I'm older and haven't the time or money to waste on repeating classes (see #1).

3) My choice in my major is not up for discussion. Between 1994 and 1997, I am sure I changed my major at least 6 times. I'm older and wiser and I've done my research. My career path at this point is much clearer (see #1).

4) My appreciation for my professors is much greater. I no longer view my teachers as my tormentors and I hold them in the highest regard. As opposed to when I was younger and thought I knew everything; I now realize that I'll never know enough. We learn something new every day, sometimes
in the least likely of circumstances. I've learned to be a student of
life. (I think I read somewhere I can get college credit for that?)

5) Most of all I no longer view college as an option. Statistically, it's just not feasible these days to achieve your optimum success in life without a college education. The job market is much more competitive and without a degree, one's resume can often remain at the bottom of the pile or even worse.

Oh what a difference 12 years makes!

Tich Richardson
Youth Services Dept.


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