Being a nontraditional student sucks?

>> Saturday, May 2, 2009

That made me kind of sad - the fact that one of the search terms that showed up in my google analytics today was that being a nontraditional student sucks.

That has not been my experience at all - I think that being a nontraditional student can certainly be challenging - we nontrads tend to have a lot more juggling to do to make it all work. But we also have advantages that can make our experiences as nontraditional students pay off.

When I accomplish something as a nontraditional student, I take pride in the fact that I pulled it off in spite of all of the challenges I face. It means more, I think, to succeed when it's hard.

My degrees show that I can not just write papers and pass exams ... but also that I can juggle, organize, balance, and overcome.

Especially overcome. Being a nontraditional student can be really difficult. I've done it as a broke, burned out single mom; as a caregiver for someone with Alzheimers who needed a great deal of care and attention and who died here, in my living room, in the middle of a semester in which I was carrying a full load as a student and a full teaching load; and now, dealing with some pretty inconvenient health problems of my own.

When I walk across the stage and pick up my degrees, that means something. Of course, it means something for every student that makes it that far - but for me, it is a particular source of pride.

I'm not feeling so hot tonight so I'm off to bed - tomorrow I will write about what I see as advantages of being a nontraditional student.

But in the meantime, let me just say that I don't think that being a nontraditional student has to suck - and if you are someone that ended up here by searching "being a nontraditional student sucks" I hope you'll drop a comment - or send me an email - and maybe together we can find some solutions to make it work better for you. I would love to help ... that is exactly why I started this blog.


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