Archive for the 'Adult Students' Category

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When I was your age…

Jason SchiltzJason Schiltz, 38, is a Bachelor’s of Liberal Studies Organizational Administration student from Appleton, Wis. Schiltz was inspired to go back to college in 2009 by his wife, who also completed a Bachelor’s of Liberal Studies in Organizational Administration from UW Oshkosh. Schiltz said he also hopes to motivate his three young children to continue their education.

Humans have a basic need to be accepted. For you psychology majors and buffs, you know this quite well. Many of us nontrads might try to dismiss this need, but the fact remains; deep down, we all want to fit in. It can be argued that fitting in as a non-trad may be easier the younger you are, but I would like to point out just three rules you must abide, to fit in no matter what your age.
First and foremost, you have to accept that you are NOT an 18-year-old freshman. No matter how you dress, how you talk, or how you walk; you are…different. Your classmates have noticed, your professor has noticed, and you know it; accept it. Once you have accepted that you are not the same, you begin to develop the ability to fit in…better. You will surely be better accepted.

My second point ties very closely with my first, in that you recognize that you are different. This recognition means that you have to make a conscious effort to leave your VAAAAST experience at the door. You are, most likely, in this class to learn. Your thoughts are not any more valuable to the student body of this course than the 19-year-old sophomore that you sit next to, and the professor does not need you to expound on his or her every analogy with your own words and personal experience. Now you have to realize, I am not trying to tell you that nontrads are to be seen and not heard; but take care in what you say and how much you say it. If you are in a classroom of traditional students, allow the professor to teach and allow yourself (and your classmates) to learn.

Finally, you have to recognize when to forget rule number one. You aren’t an 18-year-old student; you might have children as old as the students sitting next to; but you are in college. You are here to learn and to have a bit of fun (more so if you think learning is fun). Go with it. Forget you’re older. Realize your classmates are adults and can handle a conversation with another adult…maybe even lunch. In the end, to fit in and be accepted, the nontraditional student needs to accept the traditional student and forget his or her differences.

Make Your College Experience Better—Get Involved!

Tim ThiedeTim Thiede is a Radio/TV/Film major with a minor in journalism. Thiede is from Richland Center, Wis. and is graduating in May 2013. He lives on campus, and is the development director for UW Oshkosh’s radio station, WRST-FM.

When I became a full-time student at UW Oshkosh in 2008 I was excited about the decision that I made to return to school. In order to attend college full time and save expenses, I decided to leave my home in Richland Center and live on campus in Stewart Hall, which housed nontraditional students at that time. The first day I moved in the excitement turned into fear and uncertainty that I would fit in because of the age gap between me and those who were attending the University.

With this new found fear I could have either hid in my room until I had to attend classes or I could go out and get to know others. The great thing about living in a residence hall was the hall staff. Once I got to know the staff they encouraged me to take part in the events on campus including Taste of Oshkosh, which is held during opening week. After visiting various tables and talking with different organizations I realized that the best way to be a part of the campus was get involved. Since I am a Radio/TV/Film major I decided I wanted to get involved at WRST, the campus radio station.

Tim Thiede On Air at WRST

Tim Thiede On Air at WRST

Getting involved with WRST, and a few years later Titan TV, not only helped me get involved and meet many great people it also helped me with my Radio/TV/Film broadcasting skills.

Another way I have gotten involved on campus is working at the front desk of Evans and Stewart Halls where I have gotten to know so many great individuals. This made me realize no matter your age others treat you with kindness. I feel this is because we are all students who are here to achieve the same dream.

My activities are just a couple examples of getting involved. There are so many organizations you can get involved with on campus despite your age. Ways you can discover getting involved include Taste of Oshkosh, the Student Leadership & Involvement Center and the LLCE adult student resources.

Getting involved on the UW Oshkosh campus is a great experience despite your age. Not only will you meet great individuals you can call friends, but you may even gain a second family as I have been blessed to have happen to me.

Endless Rewards

Wendy Van AhnWendy Van Ahn is an Educational Leadership graduate student from Oshkosh, Wis. Van Ahn was inspired to go back to college in 2006 to complete her bachelor’s degree when she started working at the University. She plans on graduating in the summer of 2013, and currently works as a Community Outreach Specialist for the Division of Lifelong Learning and Community Engagement.

Off and on for years the thought of completing my degree had crossed my mind, only to vanish as quickly as it had appeared. After all, I had opted to get married, raise a family and be a stay-at-home mom. How could I consider returning to college and complete my degree? Ever since my early childhood, my life’s dream was to become a wife and mother.

It wasn’t until I began working at the University that the idea of returning to complete my degree became a prominent and serious thought. Ultimately, it was my work with nontraditional students (in LLCE adult student resources) that gave me the incentive to take the leap and work at earning my degree.

Daily I was connected with other students who were not so unlike myself. They had multiple obligations that were higher on their priority lists than their schoolwork.Yet somehow they managed to carve out a piece of their life and dedicate it to their education.
It was not long before I began to see myself in their shoes. I made the decision to return to college and finish the degree I had started some 24 years earlier!

Just like the students I worked with on a daily basis, I experienced what I like to call the “mood swing” of emotions and feelings…excitement, fear, anxiety, wonder and more all at the same time.

Thanks to the two years of credits I had earned right out of high school, I was nearly half way to my bachelor’s degree. As I thought about what I would major in, I knew I needed a degree program that would fit my life.

I worked full time during the day and was active in my children’s lives. This is how I chose the Bachelor of Liberal Studies program which offered accelerated evening and online classes.  The perfect match!

I first began classes in the spring of 2006 and looking ahead, commencement day seemed to be far off somewhere in the distant future. Little did I realize how quickly time would fly by and that by December of 2009 I would walk across the stage and receive my degree!

Adding school and homework to an already full life is challenging, but the rewards are endless, especially when you open yourself up to the learning experience!

There are many stories I can and will share about earning my degree. The good news is that I did it and you can too! You may even be like me and continue on to earn your master’s degree, which I anticipate completing this summer

What it means to take online courses

Rebecca JenkinsonRebecca Jenkinson, 31, is a Bachelor’s of Applied Studies in Leadership and Organizational Studies student from Berlin, Wis. Jenkinson was inspired to go back to college in 2011 by her desire to work in human resources, and she said she also hopes to be a role model for her four children.

Online courses were very appealing to me, the convenience of staying in my own home and doing my homework, “whenever” seemed easy. But taking an online course is more than reading a book and submitting your answers at your leisure. It takes organization, planning and effort to be successful in an online environment.

Courses are all in the same place in the D2L site, which makes it easy to go from one to another. The syllabus and other assignments are online, printing out the contents and putting it in a three-ring binder makes it easier to be organized. Reading the syllabus before the course starts, becoming familiar with deadlines and assignments will also be beneficial.

After starting my first classes online, I realized I needed an environment that would assist me, at doing my best. Not only does that mean having my own little office with a dry erase board of weekly due dates, table, computer and comfy chair, but it also means planning a time when the kids are occupied or in bed.

Being a stay-at-home mom, makes it difficult because I am at home most of the day, which makes it very tempting to work on my homework. Sometimes, I’m able to complete little assignments or discussion posts, but I would be dreaming if I thought I could do assignments and not be interrupted. I am most productive after the kids have gone to bed.

Taking more than one online class at a time means being connected every day, often multiple times a day. Often I am checking the discussion board to see if anyone has replied to my post and then replying if needed. Checking in multiple times a day has been made easier for me because I use my phone and a tablet and the UWO app, to access D2L anywhere and be involved in discussions. Being connected so often helps me to stay current and not procrastinate.

LLCE courses go fast, waiting to find a groove may not happen, so being as prepared as possible right from the start will be very beneficial!

About To Achieve a Dream

Tim ThiedeTim Thiede is a Radio/TV/Film major with a minor in journalism. Thiede is from Richland Center, Wis. and is graduating in May 2013. He lives on campus, and is the development director for UW Oshkosh’s radio station, WRST-FM.

My name is Tim Thiede, and I am a 48-year-old nontraditional student at UW Oshkosh. When I was asked to be a blog contributor I was more than happy to say yes.

I am majoring in Radio/TV/Film with a minor in Journalism and hope to work in radio and possibly do some freelance writing. Currently I am development director for the campus radio station WRST-FM, where I also host an award winning show I created called Alternative 80s .

I am graduating in May and am about to achieve my dream of earning a college degree. I was born and raised on a farm outside Muscoda, Wis. and after I graduated from Riverdale High School I moved to Richland Center, a town close to Muscoda, where I lived most of my life.

My 4 and a half years at UW Oshkosh have had their ups and downs but mostly highs due in part to many individuals I have had the honor of getting know and am happy to call my friends. That is why I am happy to be a blog contributor so I can share my experiences with current and future nontraditional students, and hopefully after reading about my experiences it will make college life easier.

You may ask what made me decide to return to college full time. Part of it has to do with what many other individuals throughout the country have experienced. There was talk of possible lay-offs at the plant where I worked, and since I never really felt totally happy doing what I did, it made the decision of returning to school easier.

I did attend UW-Richland, a two-year institution in Richland Center, to see if it was what I wanted to do. After receiving straight A’s during one semester I was happy with my decision. After consulting with nontraditional adviser George Henze he suggested attending UW Oshkosh because of the great RTF department. The next semester I made the move.

I am very happy with the choice I made — and believe me times can be scary. Adapting to college life has its obstacles, like when I was diagnosed with Appendix Cancer back in January of 2011. But thanks to everyone I know on campus who helped me adapt, and to the great care I received at Vince Lombardi Cancer Center, along with the great support system from my family and friends, I have overcome the obstacles. Another factor is the desire I have that I will not let anything stand in my way.

I hate to say much more as forthcoming posts will explain more in detail the things I have discussed. I am looking forward to discussing it with you and I hope to make you feel more positive. I may bring tears to your eyes, as well as mine, when I go into detail about my bad experiences, especially the cancer, but most of all I hope to make you smile a lot.

Until my next post I am attaching a video from You Tube, which is an audio piece I made in late 2010 about being a nontraditional student. It was just before my cancer diagnosis, but still everything I talk about holds true.

Life as a Nontraditional Student video

Until my next post I have a couple questions to help make you think and feel free to respond to them.

First question is do you feel adults returning to school make a smart choice? Depending on your opinion, why or why not?

Another question is if you are considering returning or have returned what do you feel could be done to make your college experience a good one?

Also, if you have anything that you would like to ask me feel free to comment and I will try to answer them in my future blogs. Once again I am looking forward to telling you about the road to achieving a dream and I hope to make everyone feel better about the choices each of you make and I hope I am making your road less bumpy.


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