Hi Noah, what stood out for me here was the intention around your frame for finding your fit by establishing a supportive community that can bring on the challenges without the tokenizing. Institutes of higher learning are incubators for making contact and creating frameworks for connections, but you have to trust that the people you are building relationships with are going to hold you down when hard stuff comes up. And the hard stuff is different for non-traditional students. I guess I am wondering, does it take a special kind of educator/administrator, or an at-large re-framing of the potential of who students might actually be?
It's really too bad the Enchanted sorting house of Hogwarts is not legit. When I first began my college career I had no idea what I wanted to do with my degree. I was hoping to generalize, and betting that I would learn more about myself along the way. I had to take time off and work, and that's where I figured out where my interests and strengths reside. I wish I could have had the experience of "trying jobs on for size" instead of learning on the job what I did and did not are to do.
Considering where a lot of students are coming from financially these days, it begs the question, how might we get students paid for the labor they do at internships while they are also studying? Maybe private work-study exchange that would discount tuition? or money that is paid directly to the student account that includes some kind of payroll tax incentive? I like your larger point, that students need a chance to find out what they are interested in for the long game, but I also wonder if private companies couldn't be better partners to higher education when what they need is an energetic workforce, motivated, technical workforce and what we have on campuses all over the U.S. is just that. Thanks for posting this!
Thanks for posting Savannah. One of the major pain points I have heard in these posts from non-traditional learners about non-traditional learners is how working people have to balance family life, doing an important job, but still have the desire and passion to pursue higher education. Your persona for Valerie made me wonder if there shouldn't be a designated work-study for committed professionals who want to further their career but can't leave the workplace, while still needing to earn an income (to take care of a family) that is prohibitive to most need based financial aid products.