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On Being a NonTraditional Student

I first enrolled for college classes at age twenty-four. I returned to school because I realized to achieve what I wanted in life, I would need a college education. I was so very excited my first day of class; I was just the second person in my family to attend college. But I was extremely nervous also. I had not graduated from high school but had obtained a GED.

Fears raged inside me. What if I couldn't handle the course work? What if the instructors viewed my work as highly unsatisfactory? What if some comment of mine made the whole class burst into laughter? I was a single parent at this time, working full-time. I was afraid I was taking on more than I could handle. I soon found out that I was not alone; many others were facing the same disadvantages of being an older college student that I was.Many older students are married whereas younger ones usually are not.

Also older students often have young children. These family obligations, in addition to college course work and working a job, create a very hectic and stressful situation for the older student. Taking care of a family is not part-time; rather it is a full-time responsibility for the older student. Parents have to give up time that they could use to study to pick up their children from athletic practice or attend their children's games. Also the children's homework has to be completed before the parent can work on his or hers. After making sure the kids have gotten their baths and brushed their teeth, parents have to have story time.

After all the daily tasks of managing a family are completed and the kids are in bed, the older college student is usually exhausted. But he or she cannot go to sleep right; now is the time for him or her to do their studying. Usually it is past midnight before the older college student can finally fall into bed.

All too soon, the alarm goes off to start the routine all over again. Family obligations are the primary disadvantage of being an older student.Besides not having enough time in the day, older students sometimes don't have enough money either. Paying tuition and buying course books is a heavy financial drain on the older college student.

Younger college students generally have their parents provide for these college expenses. Younger students also have access to scholarships that older students are not eligible to receive, such as athletic scholarships, which usually cover all college-related expenses. Older students can receive grants but these are usually for people below poverty level. The only alternative is to apply for a college loan that has to be repaid with interest. In a sense, these students are mortgaging their future.

A third disadvantage of being an older college student is the amount of time that elapsed between high school and college. Many times the older student has not retained the knowledge from high school and, in a way, has to start back from the beginning. This can be very frustrating to the student who has to play catch-up, while trying to keep up with the hectic pace of the college classroom.Although there are many disadvantages of being an older college student, the rewards of achieving his or her dream are worth it. Older college students tend to be more determined to succeed, perhaps because of all their disadvantages.

.Mary Arnold is an author on http://www.Writing.

Com/ which is a site for Creative Writers.Her writing portfolio may be viewed at http://www.Writing.


By: Mary Arnold

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