The first day (or first couple weeks) of the semester is always an exciting whirlwind of events that can also rack on the nerves. Mobs of students walking through campus, searching for classes, and looking for familiar faces are all a big part of that first week. And everyone’s experience is always different.
From a non-traditional student perspective, these first days are full of unique occurrences.
Ocean is a non-traditional student and a journalism major originally from Hungary, and he is over a decade older than the average eighteen-year-old freshmen. “I was very nervous this morning because I thought all the kids wouldn’t like me,” Ocean said about his first day of classes. “It’s much harder to make friends. On the first day of my first semester at CSU, I was so sad because I felt like everyone knew everyone, and I knew no one. I felt so alone.”
Aiden, a twenty-one-year-old senior and traditional student has had different experiences with his first day of class.
“Ironically on my first day of school here, I didn’t feel alone,” Aiden said. “There were thousands of students all living the same way as me, but I do remember being confused on my first day too.”
Being a thirty-one-year-old mom and non-traditional student, I have found that university life can be quite overwhelming at times as well. Meeting people you can relate to and who have been there, done that when it comes to parties and ditching class can be a challenge. There have been many times during my time at CSU when my fellow classmates don’t study for exams or do the readings, and are completely ok with a C. Not to generalize, but from my time as a student, as well as the time of other non-traditional students I’ve talked to, we are quite the opposite. Getting good grades and out of school as successfully and quickly as possible becomes first and foremost when you’ve already lived the carefree years of your twenties.
Being a decade (give or take) older than a typical traditional student can feel like being a thirty-year-old back coming back to your freshman year of high school.
“Sometimes I really wonder why I waited so long to go to school,” Ocean said. “They’re all so fresh and pretty and young, and I’m not.”
Though Ocean feels a bit outdated compared to the younger traditional students, non-traditional students add to the colorful diversity of campus life. To all non-traditional student during your first week of class, good luck! You are not alone.
Collegian writer Ashley Haberman can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.