A Non-Traditional Life: David Fleming

“I look at every class as ‘this is the class I need to graduate.’”

This is the mindset David Fleming, 28, has as he begins his freshman year at UW-Whitewater as a non-traditional student.

Fleming, originally from Huffman, Texas, moved to Whitewater in July 2011 with hopes of going to school at UW-Whitewater to play on the wheelchair basketball team.

“I came and toured the campus and got to meet with Nate Hinze and Matthew Opie,” Fleming said.


Unfortunately, the cost of out of state tuition was a turn off for Fleming. Residency status states that Fleming had to pay out of state tuition for his entire college career, even after he lived in Whitewater during his first year.

As a result of this obstacle, Fleming opted to stick around Whitewater for a year to work and get acclimated to the area.

Fleming attended Plan-It Purple last year and was pleased to find the campus both dynamic and intriguing.

“I like that it’s not a huge campus, but it’s also not too small,” Fleming said. “It’s like, every class you go to will have new people in it, but you will know someone there too.”

After a year of practicing with the Warhawk wheelchair basketball team and living in the area, Fleming felt that the decision he made gave him a leg up going into his freshman year.

As many non-traditional student’s feel, Fleming has concerns about returning to school and becoming re-acclimated with classes and studies he has been away from. In particular, Fleming is feeling uneasy about math classes and long essays.

Fleming, however, said he is confident that he can leap over those first hurdles easily with the support of his team and his own self-motivation. Fleming said it helps knowing he has his teammates there, who are willing to help draw from an array of fields for studies.

“I know the guy next to me always has my back,” Fleming said.

Along with the close knit group of teammates, Fleming has eased his burden by planning out his next few years of his college experience. He has five years of eligibility for the basketball team and plans to take light class loads to avoid any unneeded stress.

Fleming will spend a majority of his time in the gym and on the court, but, most importantly, he will be in the classroom. Fleming declared a major in business and said he looks forward to furthering his education.

“I’m hoping people show up and support the wheelchair basketball team this year in our push for a third straight championship,” Fleming said. “But before anything else are my classes.”