Keeping an eye on the prize

Non-traditional student encourages chasing goals

Katelyn Black, Lifestyle Editor

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Going to college can be hard between living away from home and the nightly homework load. It’s a lot to get used to. But imagine going to college while having to balance a house and kids with full lives of their own at the same time – this is the reality for senior Kimberly Derr and other nontraditional students on campus.

A nontraditional student is any person 25 years and older attending school. These students can be anything from parents, to veterans, to someone simply looking for a second chance at their education.

Derr, a retired Air Force Veteran and parent of two kids just so happens to fit into all three categories.

Derr was in the Air Force for 20 years. During this time, she took classes here and there.

However. Derr eventually decided she wanted to go another route.

Now, with the Air Force behind her, Derr is focusing on finishing up her last year of her Social Work degree and taking care of her family.

“My schedule is crazy. I have two kids, a twelve year old daughter and a nine year old son, and my husband. They have everything from guitar to cub scouts, my daughter is now in the Boy Scouts of America,” said Derr. “And we’re always running around crazy.”

And while Derr admits that her life can get pretty hectic, she also believes that simply talking scheduling conflicts and expectations out with

family and keeping your eye on the prize can really make

everything a lot easier.

“[It helps to keep] my eye on the end goal, which is of course graduating and the dream job for me, and being able to set goals for myself during the week, realistic goals too,” said Derr. “Like, okay, well I’m just going to get through these few pages.”

In the end, Derr really just wants every person thinking of going back to school to know that it’s never too late to go a different direction.

“You’re never too old to reach your goals,” said Derr.

“Here I am, 40 and working on a second career.”

For current nontraditional students, like Derr, who currently have questions or are simply looking to get more involved, the fall semester is full of events in the Returning Student Lounge, or Non-Trad Pad in University Center room 133.

Lynn Smith, the student services coordinator for the Adult Student Connection department that works with nontraditional students invites any

interested student to get involved and check out what the ASC has to offer.

“In the Returning Adult Student Lounge,  UC room 133 this week on Wednesday, September 25th our lunchtime chatter will focus on Understanding your Academic Advising Report and on Tuesday, October 15th our lunchtime chatter will be on Credit for Prior Learning options.”

Coming up in November is National Nontraditonal Student week from November 4 to November 9 that includes workshops, bowling and award nights.