When Christine Martin-Schraa decided to return to school after 20 years, she had a lot to think about. She was afraid that it would be too difficult to make the return, she was nervous about fitting in and was worried she didn’t have the skills to succeed.
"I knew it was going to be a significant commitment, and I wondered if I could do it. I just decided it was important to me," she said. "It was the one thing that I really never finished."
Christine attends classes online and at the UW Oshkosh Campus through the Center for New Learning, which offers accelerated degree programs for adult students.
She is working towards a Bachelor of Liberal Studies (BLS) in Leadership and Development and says campus services and the makeup of her program helped her address her fears and be successful.
Christine’s first main fear, the fear of not being familiar with the university environment, was the first one she addressed.
“The ANSR (Adult Nontraditional Student Resource) Office was my first contact,” Christine said. “I didn’t’ know where to go or where to start. I just didn’t know how to begin my education again.
“They helped me plan my actions step-by-step and helped me through the initial processes to build my confidence so I can be more independent down the road,” she said.
Christine’s second source of worry was her fear of not fitting in.
“I was afraid I was going to be the oldest person in the class, and that I would not be able to relate to the other students.”
But this wasn’t the case. Christine chose a program at UW Oshkosh that is specifically designed for adult learners. “It was really cool that in my first class, the age range was from mid 20’s to 62,” Christine said.
Her third and largest obstacle was her lack of self-confidence in her ability to succeed in school.
“I was very concerned that I would not have the ability to focus,” Christine said. “I asked myself, ‘Do I really want to do this again? Do I feel capable of being able to have that discipline and do the coursework?’
“So when I got my first A, it just really affirmed that I made the right decision, and that I was smart enough to be there. It built my confidence significantly.”
“This is not how I remember college,” Christine said. “Twenty years ago I wasn’t aware of the services. Between the professors, the ANSR Office and my academic adviser, I really have been made aware of the campus tools that help me be an adult student.”