Motivation to Return to School
I decided at that moment that I would return to school and graduate with my bachelor?s degree. I made a promise to myself that I would finish my education. If I complete my education, I would make my parents proud of me. Plus, I want to be the first person on either side of my family to attend graduate school. Adults return to college primarily because they desire a higher paying career or a professional job. This could be a registered nurse, an elementary school teacher, a policeman or an attorney. It could also be an accountant, a journalist, a librarian, an interior decorator or a beautician (Smith, 2001).
After being on the road for three years, I decided to check into returning to college at the University of Delaware and the University of Pennsylvania. Both universities informed me that I would have to retake my first two years that I had completed at Chattanooga State. I would have to commit for another four to six years of college. I did not have the time to do this. I wanted to be finished with my bachelor?s degree within two years if possible. So, later, when they realize that their choices are limited, their futures sealed or semi-gelled, they decide that school is where they need to be (Smith, 2001).
I had made arrangements for an apartment before I had moved, so all I had to do was wait for the moving van to bring my furniture in. I went looking for a job and found a position with the Veterans Affairs. While I was unpacking and settling in, I filled out and submitted my paper work for UTC.
After a few weeks, I received a response from UTC stating that I was accepted and could start fall semester. I was so excited about finishing my education. My major was Healthcare Administration. Older women — those in their mid-20s and older — returning to college make up better than half of the evening enrollments in area colleges. Nontraditional students are usually in their mid-20s to mid-40s, enrolling part time vs. full time. They generally attend evening classes and have jobs and family obligations to balance with their studies (Richards, 1999).
During the meeting with my advisor, I was advised that I would take an extra ten to fifteen classes before I could graduate. I was looking at the catalog at the course I could take and the advisor told me to take my freshman classes first before getting into major classes. I went ahead and signed up for history, composition, and psychology. I could only maintain a fulltime status but I could not. I ended up with only nine hours. At this time, I was beginning to become depressed because I knew that I would not be able to finish college in two to three years.
”More women are returning to college,” Richards said. ”They have career opportunities that didn’t exist 20 years ago when they graduated from high school and they didn’t then consider going to college. If someone delays higher education, it’s usually a woman that does it.” Most of the incoming nontraditional students have a clear idea of where they want to go and what they want to focus on (Richards, 1999).
Fall semester ended and I had maintained a B average. I went ahead and signed up for spring semester, which included history II, math, and one class in my major. After attending college for a couple of weeks, I decided to drop my math class and class in my major. I was becoming very unhappy with UTC. I looked ahead to see what I could take for summer session and there was only one class I could take. How could I finish with a class schedule like this?
Difference of Classroom Setting ? past vs. present
An individual man or woman who decided that they wouldn?t let their decisions, circumstances, fear or situation stops them from obtaining their dreams. This is something to be proud of and to encourage. Throughout life people are faced with a variety of hurdles. How they choose to overcome these hurdles determines whether they become successful or not, it would be nice if there was an instruction manual to tell one how to be successful, how to overcome these hurdles. One of the most difficult hurdles facing people today is college. Often times people go into college with their eyes closed tightly, meaning they are totally unprepared for what lye?s ahead. There are many hardships to be faced. However, please remember that nothing worth having is easy to obtain (Smith, 2001).
College courses require more effort and studying than high school. Many students are unable to change their studying habits, which could lead to failure. Many classes require several hours per day of studying. Being the student, I have to try and stay ahead of the selected readings and or homework, but also find enough time to do all of this and put in a forty hour work week.
Different classes require different methods of studying. Mathematics and science require working problems and examples. History involves context reading as well as memorizing several dates or events. English requires writing essays and elaborate reading. These are just four examples of the various skills it takes to become successful. Being successful as a student and a full time employee takes a lot of determination on the part of the student (Meeks, 2000). I have to make time for every aspect of life which includes problem solving at work and school. As I continue with college, I must determine exactly how much time I will need to spend on studying and what methods to go about doing this.
I found the transition from UTC one. The UTC community was so young and for the most part they were residential students. They knew each other and had a life together, and that made it harder for me. That first semester at UTC, every kid was 18, and I felt very lost. I was older and I felt like a fish out of water. That was hard, gritting your teeth to face your journey every day. .When I was attending night classes at UTC; I was always being lectured on drinking and the consequences that this will lead too. In my heart, I did not feel comfortable attending night classes at UTC. I knew that since I was working during the day I had to attend night classes but I often wondered if the day classes had to be lectured too.
Today, college is for everyone. Nearly half of all American college students (or 46%) are 25 years of age or older. Further, the U.S. Department of Education estimates that 90 million individuals participate in some form of adult education each year, including training and basic education offered outside traditional higher education. To serve this immense market, most colleges have structured programs and services specifically for adult learners (Adams, 2001).
I was not happy with the curriculum that my advisor gave me. I could not understand why I need to take three history classes, or other freshman classes. I was about to quit college again until I seen the advertisement for I called and requested information. Upon receiving the information, I was hoping that I would have enough credit hours to qualify for the program. After spending time with Margaret Huffine and going through all of my transcripts, I did qualify for the I finished my last class with UTC and started within two weeks. It was the best decision that I had ever made.
The comparisons between UTC to my co-workers. By comparison, the t population was older, mostly adult students. Many like me were women returning to school, parents, and adults changing careers, beginning new lives or making their second chance. I explain to people how the classes are six weeks long, no testing, and how this accommodates adults even eat during the lecture. I know even eat during the lecture.
One of the ways that institutions have accommodated adult learners is by devising alternate schedules that allow students to complete more classes in the same amount of time. For example, a class may meet four times on Saturday for the entire day, allowing working students to take four classes over the course of a sixteen-week semester. Adult students also can earn credit for training and learning acquired through the workplace (Adams, 2001).
Time is the most important aspect of being successful. Often, I feel that there just are not enough hours in a day. Not only do I have to make time for my classes and studying, I also need to have time to see their family and friends. Students are constantly being told college is the best time of their life, but time just does not seem to be on my side. Balancing time effectively is a skill that seems to increase with time spent in college. Besides dividing time between
I am not able to visit her very often. I try to plan a trip to visit her at least every three months. By staying ahead in my lessons,
Family is important to me, but everyone knows that I am very serious about graduating and for this; all of my family supports me.
As far as my girlfriends are concerned, every Monday night, we go out to dinner together. I have another girlfriend that comes over every once in while or her and her husband invite me out to dinner every couple of weeks. The friends that I have from the work place, we have set up a rotating date for each month for dinner and drinks after work. The rest of my girlfriends live out state so we either email or phone each other.
My guy friends usually let me decide on whether or not to see them. I have one that I play golf with every once in while on Saturday, abiding all my homework is completed. The other male friend, I meet once a month for dinner, usually during the week. Several other male friends just call to talk. None of them push me into doing anything I do not have the time for. This is what I enjoy about all of my friends, they understand how much time and effort I put into college and none of them want me fail because they understand this is a goal I want to achieve.
Wanting to achieve my goal is what made decide to attend UTC. I related to other students in my classes that were my age. The generation that is fifteen years younger than me, are the ones that I could not understand. I know that there is a generation gap, but I know at first, I was scared when I attended my first two nights of class, but little by little, everyone comes together to achieve the same goals. This is what makes us have a wonderful group. All of us understand each others needs and desires. We know if someone is having a problem, and someone is always there to listen to you.
The instructors at UTC have a class size of forty students or more. By having a class of this size, there can be a one on one instruction from the instructor. If you are having problems in class, the instructor is very hard to contact. They are keep strange office hours, teach else where, or an adjunct instructor that has a day time position.
The adjustments that an adult student has to conquer are within themselves. If a student is serious about achieving a bachelor degree, then the student will overcome any anxieties that may come. Whether it is overcoming the fears of public speaking or the fear of writing a twenty page paper, the student overcomes their individual fear to achieve their goals. Remember that your family does not fully understand what you are going through. Try not to be upset if your spouse or children are resentful or jealous of your free time. Take it as a compliment that they miss you and want to spend time with you (Meeks, 2000).
Nontraditional students (any student over the age of 25) are flocking to many of the nation’s institutions of higher learning to avail themselves of the benefits of a college education. However, the life of a nontraditional student is usually quite different from one fresh out of High School. Oftentimes, college life is a bit more difficult to balance for the older student, juggling school classes, college requirements, and final exams with the sometimes more complex issues of life itself (Meeks, 2000).
My personal insecurities that I faced were the first couple of nights of class. I was uneasy about my classmates and I was not confident if I could fulfill the requirements of the Quest program itself. After overcoming the initial fears, I was achieving my goals. My anxieties have falter to the over whelming feeling that I can do this on my own.
I have learned more about myself than I ever could have imagined. I have matured as an individual physically and spiritually. My future looks bright as I come closer to finishing my bachelor?s degree.
Achieving goals takes time management to a new meaning. Prepare before you go, yes, then just do your best and enjoy a very meaningful time of your life (Adams, 2001). My goals are set every week with the homework that I must submit. Making a time schedule for each week takes time but it is ascertainable. There may be an added variable from time to time, but that?s to be expected. I work around my work schedule, family time, homework time, and time to myself. I have an easier time of this than most due to the fact that I am single and no children. My time schedule can change and not ruin my homework time.
Give yourself plenty of time to complete assignments. Most teachers will hand out a course syllabus (schedule and requirements) at the beginning of the term, so students will know what to expect. Make notes of special assignments, exams and special projects and when they become due. Try to start these special projects and assignments early. Although every student will sometimes have problems finishing an assignment or making it to an exam, older students with additional responsibilities of family and work may find themselves more likely to hit a bump in the road than younger students. Again, keep in touch with your instructors! This could mean the difference in having extra time to complete an assignment or exam, or having to take a failing grade for something missed due to circumstances beyond your control (Richards, 1999).
Stress, what can be said for this. I usually cope with my stress by watching a movie, cross stitching, or going out with friends. I have more stress from work than I do from college. It seems the only time that I have really come under stress from college is in writing a big paper. But, if I take it little by little everyday, the stress is reduced since I have been working on the paper the entire time. It just takes practice to reduce stress levels and I believe that I have accomplished this through trial error. Above everything else, just be yourself. Think of college as simply one aspect of your life, rather than making it your entire life. This will help you keep everything in perspective (Richards, 1999).
As far as my future plans are concerned, I would like to attend graduate school. If I could achieve this, then the world is my oyster. Bachelor degree holders earn nearly twice as much over their lifetime than someone with a high school diploma. For many adults, the road toward success begins with postsecondary education (Adams, 2001). Determination, hard work, education, and luck will be on my side as I go after my goals.
Adams, M. (2001, January) Prior Learning Experience. Electronic version Reentry Counseling
Center Newsletter, 11 ? 13.
Meeks, T. (2000) Self Achievers. Electronic version Nontraditional Student, 23 ? 27.
Richards, P. (1999, September 6) Look Who?s Going Back to School. Electronic version
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Smith, L. (2001, April) Lifelong Learning. Electronic version Reentry Counseling Center
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