My life before becoming a non-traditional student was very typical and average. At 34, I was a mother of two kids and was trying to juggle between my family and work life. I did not have a particularly hard time between the two and even felt dissatisfied about my professional life. I had been working as a salon manager for about 15 years and I was also into retail management at that time. For some people, this can be regarded as a big achievement. However, I was not contented at all and it got to the point where I felt that I had already reached the end.
There was no room for growth and there were not much opportunity to make more money, which I needed to support my family. I toyed with the idea of going back to school for a very long time. I felt that my life was too complicated for me to go back. I had a family with two children to think about and it is important for me to not miss any quality time with them. Although I knew that there were many other non-traditional students out there and that the idea of going back to school is not new anymore, I still had my doubts and I thought of my decision for quite some time.
I did think about the advantages for me and the negative effects it would bring mainly to my family. I also had questions regarding the cost of receiving a degree, as well as the financial aid options that are available for me. I was also very conscious of the fact that this generation is very different from what I knew when I was still in school. Young people nowadays are very liberated and have many bright ideas, which would help them excel in their fields. As for me, I was this middle-aged woman trying to fit in in this new world.
However, this feeling did not last long because I discovered that I was not the only non-traditional student in the school and that the school is very accommodating to students like us. The younger students are liberated but this fact also helped because they are more open to things like non-traditional students. The most important factor that led to my decision of going back to school was my thirst for more and for better things for my family. I had my second daughter in December of 2005 and I was able to take an extended leave of one year after that pregnancy.
When I went back to work, I felt something different. I had manager hours, which is very convenient for me and the pay was not that bad either. However, I was bursting with so much drive, ambition, and motivation and I felt that I had so much more to offer than just become a salon manager all my life. In 2007, after 15 years of working, I finally had the courage to leave my job and go back to school. To say that I was nervous is an understatement. I was giddy, excited, and scared all at the same time. I did not know what to expect after 16 years of being out of school.
Sure, I can read about the latest news on the Internet and even see some of what is going on but experiencing it first-hand is very different. Still, the thing that made me survive and take it all in was the fact that this decision while it can affect my family, it will ultimately be beneficial for me and nobody else’s. I was doing it for me because I wanted to achieve greater things in life. I have a very busy life as a non-traditional student at this time. I am now in my third semester here at NSU and I believe that I am doing great in terms of school work.
Contrary to what I feared before, I have no problems handling my personal and family life. Both of my kids are very active socially and academically and I make sure that I still have the time to guide them with their activities. After finishing my courses, I believe that I will be better equipped and prepared to take greater responsibilities. I would be more confident that my career path would not be a dead-end like before. I would therefore like to state that this decision of becoming a non-traditional student has proved to be beneficial to me and to the people around me.
Courtney from Study Moose
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