Life of a non-traditional college student

Jenifer Brenner (TheLorian)

When we think of college and our first semesters, we think back to when we were eighteen or nineteen years old. For some of us, we think of “now” at the age of thirty. College originally was for anyone between the ages of eighteen and about twenty years of age. Now when we look around we see a plethora of ages and gaps between the youngest students and the oldest. As a transfer student into Loras College, I am thirty years old and have a different view of the college experience.

For most, college is about experiencing new things and opening your mind to expand your horizons. For me, it’s been a complete fresh start. As a nontraditional student, I am unable to look towards my parents for assistance with going into college nor am I able to rely on my peers for guidance either. I’ve had to figure out this journey relatively alone. While my advisors and transfer coordinators have been astonishingly helpful, my first steps into college life have been full of struggles.

As someone who can not live with their folks or on campus (Can you imagine a thirty year old sharing a room with an eighteen year old? I go to bed by 9pm!), I had to try and find that balance of school and job life so that I can still pay my bills while also trying my best to study as much as I possibly can. Being a nontraditional student adds extra stress to your life just to achieve your dreams. While they may sound like a cry for help or a woe is me article, it is far from it!

I would not give up my nontraditional ways for anything. I’ve been fortune enough to get to have some life experience between entering this strange and new world that is college. I’ve been able to have jobs and work in different environments and cities that I may not have had if I was able to go straight into college. I’ve been able to spend more time figuring out who I want to be and what I want to be “when I grow up” which is what most people spend their college years on. Sometimes they even decide by the time their my age that they messed up and picked the wrong career and college degree.            

I’m fortunate enough to have experienced all of that and finally fully decide what I want to do. While the struggles of a traditional college student are enormous, and college is difficult for all, a nontraditional college students’ struggles are just a bit different than the average traditional student. So here I am as a Loras transfer student, excited to go on and get my Bachelor’s much like all of you.  

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