Student perspectives: non-traditional student

Mariah Headshotby Mariah Irvin, nontradition student


The decision

Taking the plunge can seem scary from the top, but once you’ve landed safely in the water, you realize that the fear of the situation was all for naught.

As a 24-year-old returning student with a family, making the decision to finish college wasn’t an easy one.

Having a baby, moving to a different town, and not to mention all those “lemons” life likes to hand me, didn’t make the decision to finish my education any easier.

The conflict

I would love to stay at home with my daughter, whom I adore; however, I know that for us to have a better life, I need to be able to support her financially as well. My struggle is one a lot of people in higher education are facing nowadays. An article titled “Who’s Missing from This Picture? Single Parent Students” by, states that 15.20% of the 2011-2012 undergraduate students in the US are single parents.

The decision became easier, though, especially after the thought of going back was planted into my mind. I 1remembered how much I liked school, and I really began to see myself in college.

Most of the non-traditional students like me have other things occupying their mind. In my case, I have a lovely daughter, as well as a fiancé.

In fact, my fiancé and I both decided to start classes at the same time. While tricky, the support we have from each other has made the journey into the unknown much less scary. The lack of sleep from also being the parents of a 2-year-old and both working doesn’t help my grades, however.

Enrolling in college was almost like ripping off a Band-Aid, once you get over the thought of the pain, in my case being away from my daughter; you realize how much it didn’t hurt. In fact, I have had a great experience with my classmates and instructors, they have made the entire process easier.

Coming back again

The transition from being a stay-at-home mom would have been more difficult had I chosen to attend a larger school that I didn’t know well. Having been a student at Crowder several years ago, I knew what to expect when I enrolled. 3

Overall, we’re both very excited to show our daughter what hard work looks like at a young age. We are working double as hard to make sure she has all she needs financially, as well as two role models for her to follow.