The frustrations of a non-traditional student

Written by Muleskinner Staff

Story by ANDY LYONS, News Editor—
AndyI’ve not always made the best decisions in my life.  When I was a senior in high school, ten years ago, I wasn’t really interested in what I was going to do after graduation.  My priorities were on things that involved having fun and doing what I wanted to do.
I’m the oldest of two children and naturally the rebel of the family.  My dad cut me a deal that had me going to the local community college while working and living in his house for free.
At that point in time I was just starting to “party” and staying out late, well beyond my dad approved curfew.
The issue I had with community college was that it was a reiteration of high school, because I was taking gen-eds.  I had a history teacher that was an English major so she knew little of the content and was quite boring so I would give presentations each class over some of the content we covered.
I went three semesters before dropping out because I, of course, was smart enough to get by without it.
After working for a couple years at Wal-Mart as a customer service manager I moved to Liberty, Mo. from my hometown of Hannibal, Mo.  It was good to get away from my hometown because there were a lot of temptations.  My first job in the Kansas City area was as a manager-in-training at RadioShack.
After about a year there I moved on to a customer service manager at TruGreen lawn care.  After two years dealing with complaints and auditing sales my girlfriend at the time convinced me to come to UCM where she was going to school.
It was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.
However, there are certain things you don’t expect when you decide to come back to college.  I figured I’d have to retake some gen-eds that I had either failed or that wouldn’t transfer because it had been over five years since I went to the community college.
The first thing that was hard to get over was the maturity barrier between myself and the 18-19 year olds I had classes with.  For me, college is a second chance to make things right that I’ve messed up.  For them, this is an extension of high school or something that their parents are making them do or whatever.
The next thing is some of the classes I’ve had to take.
For example, after three years I had all but three classes for my journalism major finished and my creative writing minor finished.  One of the three classes I had to take for my major was Composition 1.
I approached someone from my department about the class, stating that I had my creative writing minor finished and had just gotten my job as news editor of the paper so a writing class was nothing to me, but it seemed pointless to me to take a class such as Comp. 1.  That person told me there was essentially nothing I could do about it other than just take the class.
Well, much to my displeasure I took the class, which I had to pay for myself, to learn writing basics.  After a rant on Facebook, I received a lot of support on the class and decided to make the best of it.  My teacher was awesome, she understood when I had things going on with the paper or my other full time job and didn’t make it.
She knew she didn’t have to teach me much and in class I opted to help out the freshmen and foreign students as much as I could and really found it rewarding, although redundant.
I’ve had the opportunity to go back and make myself better and succeed in my life.  I’m at a point where I may be older and a bit more experienced, but I’ve learned that sometimes I just have to accept the cards I’m dealt and make the best of a situation, and pay it forward.