Nontrads each have a unique story to tell. Many of my profs have been impressed with my story of returning to school after 20 something years of being out of school. They find it more impressive this year when I tell them all three of my children are in college as well.
Two years ago, I sat in class with a Computer Science teacher who had not taken a computer science class until she was 35. She said she had a soft spot for women who were returning to school. At that time, I was working full time, in school part time and "Momming" uber full time (isn't that always the case - we're Mom 36 hours a day?).
Last week I changed my minor from Geology to Environmental Science. I had to drop one class and pick up another class that was closed. In order to get into the closed class I had to speak to the professor who was teaching the class. I attended his morning class, which he would not let me into. He said to come back to his afternoon class. I did and he let me into that. When I explained why I needed the class (switching minors because of my major and my plans for grad school), his eyes lit up. He said, "We need to talk!!"
I recently spaced out on some Spanish homework. I threw myself at the mercy of my Spanish teacher, explaining that I didn't turn my homework in because I was suffering from Post and Pre- Traumatic Stress Disorder. Post from taking my last child, my only daughter, down to school over the weekend and Pre from having to visit my lawyer again on Friday. He granted me a reprieve.
Being a nontrad is not an excuse, but it helps to speak with your profs to let them know that you are not the average college student who is on campus just to get the degree and leave. You are on campus (or online) because you WANT the degree, you are working hard for that degree, but you also have life going on around you (family, financial obligations, etc.). It has been my experience that profs have more tolerance, admiration, sympathy, etc. for a nontrad who they know is working hard in spite of the other things going in their life than they have for the average college student who is goofing off! After all, I was not out partying over the weekend and didn't do my homework, I was getting my daughter settled at her college in Georgia.
I enjoy reading about other nontrads and their adventures - people like Studentmum, Man Who Stares at Coats, Michael Antonio Dicianna. There are many other nontrads out there in Cyberville. Their adventures will make you laugh, cry, ponder, give you encouragement, etc. Each of us has a story. And each of those stories is well worth telling. How about you? What's your story? Tell it to whomever will listen!! That's my story and I'm stickin' to it. Stay tuned . . .