It seems to me that summer is the time when many people decide they are going to return to school. The fall semester is coming up and now is the time to jump in and take the plunge of being a nontrad.
As older students try to navigate through things like financial aid, advising and scheduling, they ought to remember they are in a unique position. Being a nontrad means you are willingly pursuing a college degree. You are on campus (or online) because you want to be. You have a great deal of life experience behind you that has prepared you for being a nontrad. You still may be a little starry-eyed the first day of class, but you your feet are planted firmly on the ground.
Being a nontrad has its benefits, too. Such things as:
1. You know the words to all the songs in your Music History class.
2. "Been there, done that" isn't just a catch phrase. You actually have been there and done that.
3. You can intelligently discuss the evolution of the PC with your Computer Science prof because you experienced life without personal data devices (iPods, PC's Blackberrys, etc.).
4. You remember how to do math in your head instead of needing a calculator.
5. Starbucks will always be a wonderment - why do people pay $5 a cup for "gourmet" coffee?
6. You know how to form complete sentences - on paper and in conversation.
7. You walk just a tad slower than your classmates, which allows you to enjoy the beautiful day, the music wafting out of the Music Building, or the conversation of a peer.
8. You remember where you were when JFK, Martin Luther King or John Lennon got shot.
9. You can spell without using spellcheck.
10. Learning, and all its trappings (reading, studying, writing papers, etc.), is not a chore, it's a pleasure!
Nontrads are unique - in our needs, our perspective, and our experience. Stay tuned . . .