Skip to main content

Thoughts from a non-traditional student

It's the end of the school year for many of us.  My kids are thrilled about this and keep telling me that they're so excited to have the summer off...they don't yet realize that we'll have a new family chore chart and lessons on being a "contributor" to the family!

For me, the end of the school year is also exciting.  It is also the end of my first year back to school for a new degree in Cyber Operations, a degree that is almost the complete opposite of my other degree in Communication and Advertising.  It also was exciting to realize that you really can start learning something new at any age, no matter how long it's been since your last time in school.  With this in mind, I thought I'd do a recap of some thoughts I had during my nontraditional year.
  1. Going back to school is scary.  There's new technology. Not every teacher uses a textbook. You're *often* older than the teachers. There's no easy way to balance school-work-family life. You've been through it all before but, at the same time, you haven't.
  2. A lot has changed. Not only the new technology to be learned, but subjects are different - updated - with new research and trends.  Communicating with teachers and other students is different.  Research paper requirements are different - and Word can now help you format them (and your works cited/bibliography information!).  It's also apparently very 1990s to include two spaces after a period... have they realized the '90s are coming back in style? 
    Maybe the two spaces should come back, instead of the '90s fashion?
  3. Sometimes you learn that the subject you thought you hated isn't so bad.  You just didn't have a teacher who made that subject come alive.  THANK YOU to these teachers who are excited about the subjects they teach.
  4. For those 100 and 200 level classes, you sometimes have to realize that they are 100 and 200 level classes.  As a nontraditional student, the expectation imposed on yourself and your quality most likely isn't the same as that of a 19 or 20 year old.  Be ok with that and don't stress out when something isn't perfect.
  5. Recognize that you're working with students who are also working to balance their own school-work-family responsibilities.  Not everyone can commit the same amount of time/energy/resources to a group project (just as with real life).  Learning to work together as a group is often more important than the grade you receive on the project.  Also, communicating to the group the needs you have to balance your own responsibilities is imperative so that they understand what you can and cannot do.
  6. Don't be afraid to ask questions.  Yes, no one wants to be "that" student, but not asking the questions leads to not knowing the answers.  Don't be afraid to be "that" student if it means you'll be successful.
  7. However, don't be "that" student just to be "that" student.
  8. Figure out what you need to balance your responsibilities outside of school.  And, COMMUNICATE these needs to your family and co-workers.  Most of the time they will be there to support you and make you a successful student, parent/family member, and colleague.  It's all a part of being on the same team.
  9. Learn the way you need to learn.  Just because everything is online now doesn't mean you have to only do things online.  If you need to write things down in a notebook or print out all those worksheets, then do it.  I also bought groups of legal pads and notecards to use as scrap paper and to organize thoughts for research papers/projects.
  10. Don't forget to enjoy the experience.  Learning is fun.  Enjoy the process.

Ok, so maybe that communications degree did come in handy over the past year.  I hope all of you other nontraditional students had a great year.


Popular posts from this blog

Leadership Mom: SWOT Analysis

In business, leaders often analyze our Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats through a SWOT analysis.  So, if we are going to look at our role as moms as being the greatest leadership opportunity to us, let's start with analyzing ourselves and our kids.  Here's the SWOT I developed for my family: Family SWOT Analysis As a doting mother, there are hundreds of strengths that I could put up here for my kids.  Their hugs, kisses, bedtime stories and prayers, the fact that they come to me when they're seeking healing from an injury (physical or emotional), the notes and drawings they make for me, their precious hearts when they try to help me or that they've learned how to use the Keurig to bring me coffee in the morning...I could go on and on. Now, here's the part where we get honest with ourselves.  Yes, we love our kids and we love our family (or, hopefully, most of the time), but we are not perfect.  Nor should we be perfect.  As we analyze oursel

Breastfeeding: Top 10

I've had several requests for another post about breastfeeding.  So, here it is! Before having a baby, I thought that breastfeeding was going to be easy.  After all, it's an innate practice of all mammals.  How hard can it really be?  Now, after seven months of breastfeeding, I can tell you that it is not easy.  BUT, the good news is, it gets easier!   As I've mentioned in previous blogs, I had a horrible time beginning with breastfeeding.  It was extremely painful and I dreaded nursing times.  I felt like a horrible mom.  I didn't want to feed my child because I knew the pain that I was going to have to endure.  There are moments - through pure exhaustion - when I couldn't control myself and screamed.  Thankfully, I had a husband who was supportive and continued to encourage me and provide all of the support that he could in the form of talking to me, rubbing my back and shoulders, and assuring me that things would get better. We all know that breastmilk is the abs

Establishing Night Time Sleep

Since I assume that most of you reading this are either mothers or women who want to eventually be mothers, then we each know that our child (or child-to-be) is the brightest and most well-developed child out there (who wouldn't agree?!).  Our prodigy child wants to see and do everything - especially at night.  And, as mothers, we all know who gets to wake up during the middle of the night to teach Baby that, when the moon is out, we!  A mother's physical need for sleep seems to diminish during the first months after Baby arrives.  But, our mental need for sleep is still ever present reminding us - day after day - that we are exhausted. Well, establishing night time sleep isn't impossible, and this blog will tell you how I did it and had my baby sleeping through the night by nine weeks old (which, for her age, was six hours of blessed, uninterrupted sleep). I read many books prior to Baby's arrival about establishing a good sleep habit.  On Becoming Baby Wis