I’m a “nontraditional student.” I’ve learned that we nontraditional students come in many ages, shapes, and sizes and come from all kinds of situations. In my case it means I’m older, already in the work force, and already have a family and all the delightful chaos that implies. I’ve never lived in a dorm, never tossed a Frisbee on the quad, never went to a kegger on campus (well, maybe I did that way back when, but not as a student!).
I’m also a distance learner, which, again, comes in many configurations. While working toward my degree I’ve taken online courses, ITV courses, video conference courses, and even a few “live” courses. I’ve pieced together a great education, and that’s what Going the Distance is all about.
I took a single class in 2004, found that I loved being a student, and registered the following year as an English major at University of Maine at Augusta (UMA). Since then I’ve taken 2 or 3 classes each semester, and a course or two during the summers. Since I never had the typical course load – five classes each semester, September through May – I didn’t pay close attention to my standing. By the time summer rolled around, I might be “almost a sophomore” or a “junior and a half.” I just kept chipping away at my degree – class by class, credit by credit.
Yet here I am, nearly done. I’m taking 3 classes this semester, and then I have only 3 classes left to complete my degree. So even though I never really felt like a freshman, or a sophomore or junior, for that matter, I’m now proudly and officially calling myself a senior.
It’s been a journey, and it’s not over yet. There are many paths to a college degree. This is mine.