spacer
Thrive logo
spacer
spacer Log in | spacer
corner spacer corner
spacer
spacer
corner browseissues corner
spacer
spacer
spacer
corner spacer corner
spacer
corner popularlinks corner
spacer
spacer
spacer
corner spacer corner
corner spacer corner
spacer
spacer
spacer
spacer
corner spacer corner
spacer
spacer
corner spacer corner
spacer

Reflections Of A Non-Traditional Student
By Cassandra May

It was November of 2008 when I received the email from my boss. They were letting me go; my services were no longer needed. I would be contacted if I was needed in the future. This was crushing. How could this be? I had never been without a job; I’d been working straight since I was 15, and sometimes holding two or three part time jobs when one wouldn’t cut it. How many times could I count on this happening?

Then it struck me that while I was upset about the loss of income, I wasn’t so much upset about the loss of my occupation. It wasn’t horribly interesting, or even very challenging. Looking back on my young career, it seemed as if I was typing the same thing, day in and day out, into a computer with nothing to show for it. It was at that point that I did what I always do when confronted with a tough choice, and broke out a pen and piece of paper. I proceeded to make a pro and con list, detailing the pros and cons of going back to school. The pros won out.

Fast forward six months later: Slowly I step onto the campus of Binghamton University for the first time. It’s my orientation day and I’m more nervous than I think I should be. That morning I kissed my daughter—Roxanne—goodbye and left her with my husband, while I headed off into this uncharted territory. I feel utterly out of place next to my fellow new student “peers”, most of who are fresh out of high school and here with their parents. I have no one, since I couldn’t find a sitter for my daughter so she is at home with her dad, and my parents live a five hour drive away.

I’m 23, most of my old friends from high school have earned their bachelors already, or if they haven’t they are within a semester or two of doing so. I’ve read the statistics that say that non-traditional students are gaining in number every year, but I can’t help but feel a bit silly when people ask where I graduated high school from and I explain; and no, I don’t know this or that person since it’s been 5 years since I graduated.

About a month and a half later classes start and I’m less nervous than before, but still I feel a bit out of place. I went to a community college for a semester after high school, so while I am not wholly unprepared, my previous college experience was a very different atmosphere than the university. The community college felt more like an extension of high school; the campus was a lot smaller and I must have known about a quarter of the people in my classes from high school. Everyone was local. At the university the campus seems huge in comparison, and as a result, even though the class sizes are bigger, the campus as a whole seems less crowded. I know no one, and the classes are truly challenging.

In a way, I feel I am lucky to have the opportunity to gain an education a little later than my peers. Originally, when I graduated high school and entered community college, I had no idea what I wanted, but was told by parents and teachers I just had to go. It’s what I should do and I could figure out what I wanted on the way, but without some end goal in mind. I just had no motivation.

I now have the drive that I lacked right out of high school; I know what I am aiming for and feel as if nothing can stop me. I didn’t simply pick the easiest major, the one with the best earning potential, or the major that I thought other people might like for me to choose. My biggest criteria now–my major should be something I truly am passionate about, and want to work with for the rest of my life. Pursuing a double major in history and Arabic is something I never would have thought to do right out of high school. People would have told me it was crazy and unrealistic to expect such an educational path to lead to a career. I am now determined, not just to succeed in earning a degree, but to take that degree and use it in my future work. And that determination I believe, is key to future success.

This isn’t something I am just doing for myself either. I am doing it for my daughter as well, so I can provide better for her, and later in her life be able to steer her toward her goals with the conviction that I was able to achieve my own.

Of course being a parent, while attending classes full time, can be challenging, and presents a whole new set of issues when referring to the notion of “college life”. I have less time to play with my daughter than I did as a stay-at-home mother, or even a full time working mother. As a stay-at-home parent, my day revolved pretty much around my daughter and her needs. I loved spending so much time with her, watching her grow, change, and learn something new every day. That was truly a gift. But I also didn’t feel very intellectually stimulated; on some days, my conversations would wholly take place in the universe of toddlers, with close to no adult interaction. The bulk of my everyday conversation involved “toddler speak,” or talking with other moms about diapers, temper tantrums and parenting challenges. As fulfilling as it was to watch my daughter progress, it did not fulfill my aspirations of contributing to society as a whole.

So I tried working both full time and part time. It was a welcome change of pace, but the only jobs I could seem to get hired for were either retail (which takes a special sort of person to like working), or receptionist/data entry jobs, which quickly became monotonous. The retail work could be very trying. My hours were far from stable, and very often it involved doing the work of several people for one minimum wage salary. The office jobs left me confined to a cubicle for my shift, with nothing to do often but type figures into a database which quickly became, to say the least, quite boring. But when I was working, I was able to work just 6-8 hours per day, and then come home to my family and not do anything further.

With the resurrection of homework and studying into my daily routine, I sometimes feel bad when I have to send my daughter to her father because I have reading I must complete, or a paper to write. It has been a tough transition, more for me than for her, to drop my daughter off at a babysitter’s every morning, and not see her again until my afternoon classes let out. I sometimes feel as if a stone has been dropped on my gut, when I pick Roxanne up after classes to find out that I missed witnessing yet another milestone, or new word. I have two people I have to worry about getting sick causing a missed class, and I don’t have all the time for extracurricular activities and clubs that I’d like.

But I’m not complaining either. It’s great to arrive home every day from a long day of lectures, and have my own personal two year old cheerleader waiting for me, who can somehow always sense when I’m stressed out and need a hug, kiss and to be told that I’m loved. And despite my many faults, sees only Supermom who can cure all ailments and fix all problems.

I am also very lucky that I have a pillar of strength in my husband; not only does he support me financially while I go through school, but he is also there to make sure I remember to relax, taking the reins of parenthood when he gets home from a long day at work, so I can study. My husband is currently a new business owner and is trying to run a business, but despite constant calls from clients, and conferences with his business partner, emergency calls that keep him out until 1am on some days, he always manages to be there for me and be my rock. Without him, I do not know if my nerve would have held out in the beginning, and every day since.

It can be intimidating; these first few days of classes on campus certainly have been in some ways. It can be hard, and yes, it can be very scary. But to me the decision, to have another go at furthering myself, was the right one. I know a lot of people that wish they could go back to school, or had taken the opportunity to go when they graduated high school. When I dropped out of community college
because I had absolutely no direction to head in, I was told that I would never go back, that I was missing my one and only chance. It does not come easily, the second chance, but it is my opinion, and I’m sure that of most every non-traditional student out there, that if you want something bad enough, you can and will do it. My life would go unlived and unfulfilled if I did not embrace the opportunities life
has to offer.

Cassandra My Bio:

Cassandra is currently living in Port Crane, NY with her husband and daughter. She attends Binghamton University and hopes to enter into public service after obtaining her degree and also plans on continuing her education to the graduate level.

Back to Stories

spacer
COMMENT (0) | education, self improvement, unemployed
spacer

Comments

Leave a Reply





spacer
spacer
spacer
spacer
spacer
corner spacer corner
spacer
corner spacer corner
spacer
newsletter
spacer
spacer
spacer
corner spacer corner
spacer
corner comments corner
spacer
  • Nancy Flora: I think what you mean is a non-drinking member of an alcoholic family. Alcoholism is a family disease....
  • Amanda: The family is waking up Sunday AM and my alcoholic husband again makes another nasty comment to me. The...
  • Angel: I learned how to detach from my drunk husband! Than my mother passed away. All gloves were off after that. My...
  • Lorraine: Married thirty seven and a half years to an alcoholic. But he is a good person. And he does good deeds for...
  • jw: I have been with my husband twenty one years. We have three children together, ages 5,7, and 9. He is a...
  • Richard Berman: A emotional story well written with bright eye ups and sad eye downs. A story I could relate to. My...
  • Gina: Love this. Just what I needed to read. Thank you for your courage to share this.
  • Tired: I am struggling with detaching, but still trying. I have been with my other half off and on for 5 years. The...
  • Debra Grossman: Thank you for sharing this beautiful story. It nourishes my soul to learn of such special...
  • Jack russell: Really enjoyed reading the website. I have also have a website about this great dog.
  • Anonymous: Thank God for your blog. After 37 years of being married to an alcoholic,I’ve finally reached my...
  • Anonymous: Thanx 4 da truth
  • Sandra: I am from USA, i am 36 years old, i want to gladly give My testimony of how a spell caster dr.mac@yahoo. com...
  • g: Thank you for your words. As I navigate through marriage with children (11, 5, 3) and I am a stay at home mom, the...
  • Catherine Ellen Pettway: My husband and I married in 1988. He occasionally drank beer but not everyday. He came from...
  • Nic: Thank you Mike for your honesty and vulnerability. It helps to feel a connection with someone who understands...
  • Robert Goldsmith: Thank you for sharing that very intimate experience and your story. I’m married to an...
  • MANDI: Is this group still going? I love my husband and I knew what I was getting into when I married him. I knew he...
  • Kelly: Dear Keith, I hope you are at peace now. You are missed by many.
  • Delilah Campos: Dear LaVora, Thank you so much for sharing this intimate experience. I am deeply touched and...
  • Mary Ellen Bennett: Thank you so much. I am married to an alcoholic and I have watched him go through rehabilitation...
  • Tracy: Thank you for sharing your story with me Ivor. I’m so glad you had a loving supportive Aunt to guide you...
  • Daniel Fontana: I know those kids,especially Snezana.Please send me their contact information.
  • Neyhaaa: I can’t thank you enough for sharing this. Yet, thank you.
  • Amy: My daughter is five and her dad is an alcoholic. I know we need to leave. We both own our house and I...
  • CPC: I think this is among the such a lot important info for me. And i’m happy studying your article. However...
  • online festival: Every year, people in India find different ways to celebrate the same festival, and perhaps this...
  • Karol: Listening to all the mother’s on here is overwhelming for me. I think about what all of you are going...
  • Vicki Osheka: This is my second marriage and I came from a non drinking family. Didn’t realize what I was...
  • Elle: Wel written article. My husband is walking around totally beligerant. Where he ends up making messes, he has...
  • Maren: Thank you for this! 3rd day on Cipralex and a glimmer of hope.
  • Anonymous: I ‘gave in’ recently. I am more hopeful than ever that things will improve for me after...
  • LindaJane Riley: I apologize to everyone who has commented. I didn’t know this story was still active. I would...
  • Rahulbh28: Dear Members, Please help me. . . I’m sharing my painful moments which my brother and my family...
  • rene: Yes i too lived the nightmare for 45 yrs..when in my marriage the last. 10 yrs my alcoholic lived in the same...
  • Grace: I typed in Google search, overcoming childhood loneliness because I am paying attention to some habits that I...
  • Casadina: I am so thankful that I found this website. I am like others on here and my alcoholic is passed out snoring...
  • Grateful: I cannot express how much I appreciate your story. I have been with my alcoholic for 11 years and I do not...
  • Vic: I stumbled upon this beautifully written article because I just “gave in” today. I just picked up my...
  • Carol: I have recently begun to admit that my husband is an alcoholic. My heart is broken… I am pissed… I...
  • TJ: Thank you for this article. You are the first person who seems to understand why I am still married to an...
  • sariah: I wept as I read your story. I am currently learning to detach as well after 20 years of marriage to an...
  • LaVora: Good luck, N. My experience may not be yours. However, I deeply believe that happiness is our birthright. You...
  • nk: Lavora, I am exactly here in my marriage – trying to turn it around. Rgds, N
  • Suzanne: Hi Martin and Cathy. Watched your documentary. You are a wonderful family. Everyone has their struggles, no...
  • admin: Thank you for letting us know. The link is now set to the their new WEB page. We have our dog from them.
  • Linda Jane Riley: About a year ago I was forced to take a step back from all things related to alcoholism. My...
  • SHerry: Your link to the rescue adoption site is for sale with no other info on the dogs.
  • Marleen: Thank you for sharing your story! That’s real inspirating!
  • Julie: Its 4:50am here. I can hear him snoring in the nursery. I brought the baby to bed with me.. He only snores...
  • ld: I thought I was suffering alone. The advice and comments make me feel better and gives me the strength to go on....
  • Sam: Hi Mike, Very poignant, “There are no grown-ups. We are all children in adult garments” is right on...
  • TJ: Thank You!!! Like “judy” commented above my mind was racing and I felt out of control… My life...
  • Karunakaran: It’s very nice.
  • judy: Thanks for ur writings… it really help my mind to calm down…. where can i go to talk with alot of...
  • Tanya Sousa: We certainly do have to change the way we respond, don’t we Paul? I’m encouraged though. I...
  • Paul Trainer: Thank you, Tanya, this is all so true. As someone who adores starlings too, I know that it is only when...
  • Cathy: In reading I see how difficult it is to be married to an alcoholic husband for 30 years and have now...
  • carrir: You took the words right out of my mouth. Xoxo
  • ceri: What an amazing story of love between step son and step father
  • Caney Texas: Hello! I’ve been reading your site for some time now and finally got the bravery to go ahead and...
  • julie: what a wonderful article, she described me to a tee , it was nice to put words to the feelings , I am new to...
  • michele: I am hurting so badly right now, it is taking all the strength and coping ability I have just to get through...
spacer
corner spacer corner
spacer
Copyright 2010 thriveinlife.ca. All rights reserved. | Privacy Statement
spacer
spacer