Going back to school was probably one of the most difficult decisions I had to make. After my sophomore year, I had a lot of life events occur. I got my own place, got married to the military, and had a beautiful baby boy. Everything happened so fast that I put college on the back burner and decided to drop out to take care of my family.
After three years of being a stay at home mom, I decided to get back into things and go back to school. Not only was I thinking about my future, but I was also thinking about my families future. So I did all the paperwork, filled out FAFSA and after a few weeks, I was officially a student again. Not only was I a college student, but I was a non-traditional college student. I did not fit the normal roles of a college student since I was married, going to school part-time, and had a kid. I wouldn't be able to join all the clubs, attend all school events and most importantly go to tailgates because of soccer games on Saturdays.
Being a non-traditional student doesn't mean I'm completely unable to do typical college things, it just means that I have more important things to take care of before I can enjoy myself. But once my priorities are checked off, I am able to do anything I want without the constrictions of being having to work nonstop to have a decent meal, being broke, or not having a car I'm not going to lie, when I'm called a non-traditional student it hurts a little deep down. I know I don't have the freedom to go on spontaneous trips or the funds to go to Cancun for spring break every year. But do know, that the stigma of the "non-traditional" title doesn't really hurt after coming to the realizations that things aren't that bad.
To my fellow non-traditional students: don't let the normal college scene make you feel that you are an outsider looking in. sometimes the grass looks greener on the other side but there are always struggles of being newly independent and trying to find yourself that we do not have to deal with anymore.
You know who you are and what you are capable of doing. You have goals that you are more determined to reach now than when you were 18. You know you can handle what life has to bring and once you realize this, then college will be something that will only make you stronger. Youll get that promotion, set an example or even lead yourself to change your life.
Going back to college will give you the ultimate feeling of accomplishment because even though you took on everything life had to throw at you, you still finished and reached your goals. Try not to compare yourself to people who are just starting their journey in life or else it will turn to a sequel to neighbors with Zac Efron and Seth Rogan. So next time you see the 18 to 22-year-olds partying it up, just know that it is okay and we are all on different paths to a more prosperous life.