Nontrads Make National News!

(blush) and I’m one of them.

This is thrilling and humbling at the same time. All I’ve been doing is slowly taking courses at UMaine Augusta and gradually accumulating my credits. I’m just going the distance, three credits at a time, just like so many of you who read these posts. Somehow, my version of being a nontraditional student became part of this article in USA Today.

James Conlan pic taken at the Best Western in Brighton

This came out while we were still on our long weekend in Boston. I’m giddy – from too much good food, too little sleep, and pure pleasure at being included in this article. I’ve heard from people on the blog, on Facebook, by email, by phone, and in person and, let me say, I’ve been on a high.

It’s taken me a full day to process this, but I think what it comes down to is, we all have a story. We all have our own deeply personal paths that we follow, or pave, or get pushed along on. I’ve made my path public, and it landed me in the paper. But mine is just one of many, many versions of going to college as a nontrad. Ms. Blake, another student who shares her heartfelt story in the article, has her version. All of my fellow students have their versions.

And you have yours.

So I will turn the compliments that I have gotten in the past few days over to you:

You are inspiring!


You are a great role model!

Go, you!

You make us proud!

Truly inspiring.


YAY for nontrads!

u are amazing…

Mom is awesome (personal favorite).

We each have a path, but somehow our paths converge and we are part of a movement. So many of us are returning to school or starting fresh as adults with complicated lives and lots of distractions. So, if I may be so bold, yay for us!

One last pic (I can’t resist). Here’s to all those who are on an unconventional path – the Gagas and nontrads in the world who are, coincidentally, in the same issue of USA Today!

One more time, here’s the link.

This entry was posted in Nontrads/non-traditional students, UMA distance learning and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

22 Responses to Nontrads Make National News!

  1. You know Colleen, You make reading fun for me…and informative now – love the blog. Have any thoughts of turning this into a book — it would sell!

    Best and take care
    You have proven to me that you can ride the waves even in rough seas!

    • Hi Kathy, Thanks so much for your nice comment. I like the idea of a book, but it’s too bad I didn’t start this blog 6 years ago. That would show more of a journey. Now I’m soon to graduate, and my student days will be behind me. How are you doing with your studies? How much longer for you?

      • Hi,

        I am just in the beginning stages — and I am (due to being recently unemployed after 14 years) considering going back as a full-time student for one semester to finish sooner if at all possible, but keeping an eye out nonetheless. My cup remains half-full … And Congratulations on nearing the end of your degree! Someday we meet on the mainland…and I hope that all goes well with you and the rest of your clan! Take care

      • Hi Kathy, you know, at my age I feel like time goes by quicker than ever. Sometimes it seems like the past 6 years of school went by pretty fast. I hope it’s the same with you.

  2. Connie Yen says:

    Way cool! Congratulations on making the news!

  3. Charlie Hoff says:

    Hi Colleen — Saw the USA Today piece while on a business trip — congrats to you!! I attended University College at the center in Mexico for 7 years, plus a class at Lew-Aub College & a couple online, while working fulltime. We are so fortunate to have this great system here for the citizens of Maine, and it’s wonderful that you chose to share your story, and be an inspiration to others. Congrats again!!
    Charlie Hoff, B.S. Business Administration, UMA 2005

    • leenthebean says:

      Hi Charlie, I’m so glad to hear from another “long-timer.” Good for you for sticking with it for 7 years. I completely agree that UMA has a fabulous program for us distance learners. I couldn’t have done it any other way. Thanks so much for your good wishes, and for checking out the blog.

  4. Chelsea says:

    Congrats, Colleen! It’s in the air, ’cause I got an acceptance note today! Will I still count as nontrad if I am a nearly 40-yr old full time grad student? :)

    • leenthebean says:

      Hey, congratulations back at ya, Chelsea! So cool, and of course I’d count you as a nontrad. btw, I love the pics on your blog. They are the exact opposite of what I’m seeing these days, unless you count my son’s cactus on the window sill, leaning toward the sun.

  5. Laurie says:

    Truly wonderful blog. Your accomplishments and positive outlook on your distance learning journey reaffirms my appreciation to be a part of the UMA community. I wish you the best of luck in all that you do.

  6. Deborah Meehan says:

    Colleen – Yours is such a great story about moving from the micro (V-Haven) to the macro (USA Today!). Through online learning, blogging and social media your one voice has become the voice of many. It’s been great to watch.

    • leenthebean says:

      Well, let’s face it, Deb. You and URock are a huge part of that! The growth in numbers of students at URock backs this up. Maine and UMA seems to have a great program in place for students all over the state and the country (via online classes). I’m very proud to be part of that growth.

  7. Jan says:

    Lovely article, both you & Ms Blake are inspirational. It is interesting the amount of support/scholorships for Non Trads in the US, there is little or no support for us in the UK, although part-time undergrads are now eligible for the student loan. I hope our press picks up on the increase in mature students here.

    • leenthebean says:

      Thank you, Jan. I was under the impression that higher education in the U.K. was less expensive than here in the U.S. Not sure where I got that idea, but I’m sorry it’s not the case for nontrads. Maybe in time…maybe you’ll be one of those paving the way! :)

  8. Hey! You are famous now! Congratulations!!

  9. Heather says:

    Hi Colleen! Saw a link posted by a fellow islander about your article, which led me here :)

    Let me add my own praise :)

    You are awesome!!

    Hope you and Jim are doing well!

    • leenthebean says:

      Hi Heather! Thanks so much for checking out the blog, and for your sweet comment. We visited Brianna down in Boston over the weekend and she talked about your blog. I’m so glad to have the link so I can check it out. You’re pretty awesome yourself!

      • Heather says:

        Yes, I am now a follower of your blog, so don’t be surprised by my frequent commenting :)

        Thank you so much for your kind words- Brianna just sent me a message today that seriously had my eyes tearing up.

        Glad we now have a sort of way to keep in touch!

      • leenthebean says:

        Heather, I was reading your blog last night. Honestly, so thoughtful and so thorough! I’ve got a few years of posts to catch up on, but I’m your fan!

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