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Posted by Sarah Roche on June 14, 2011
Based on my experience and the experiences shared with me by a number of non-traditional students, it seems that many adult students have a tendency to only be on campus for their classes. This week’s blog entry focuses on the benefits non-trads can experience by spending some extra time on campus.
In my first semester returning to school, I scheduled my classes in order to maximize the time I could work. I was on campus daily, but only for class, leaving immediately afterwards in a rush to make it to work. Besides the fact that I had set myself up for a daily race to get to the office, I found that I was unable to get to my professors’ office hours, I had to take time off work in order to meet with different offices and it was difficult, if not nearly impossible, for me to take part in the many events on campus. At the end of the semester I realized the only places I could easily find on campus were the Student Wing and the three classrooms where I had class. I felt like an adult who took classes at Binghamton University, not a university student.
In my second semester, rather than focusing my classes around my work schedule, I went the other way and planned work around the classes I wanted to take. This left me with a schedule that put me on campus only two days a week, but for the full day. I was left with a couple gaps in my schedule and instead of leaving campus to grab lunch or head home for a bit, I decided I would use this time to study or explore the campus a bit.
I checked the B-line daily to find events that fit in with the time I had on campus. I got to campus about an hour before my first class, which reduced the amount of stress caused by parking. I wandered a bit, finding my professors’ offices or looking for a location to study (Here I would want to link to my prior blog entry about places to relax on campus). I visited the Career Development Center during the counselor on call sessions, I ate tomato & mozzarella paninis at the new Jazzman’s. I discovered that the University Union is huge and offers more than just the bookstore and a food court, but has a food co-op, the group exercise room, fitspace and even a computer lounge as well as most of the student group offices. I realized that Science 1 and Academic A are connected by a tunnel.
The best part is that I started to meet people. During my first semester I identified myself by my non-traditional status and I felt separated by the student body. Being on campus more helped me acclimate and start to identify myself as a student. I started to notice other non-trads and I made some friends. Spending time on campus, even just the little bit of a break between classes allowed me to see that there are a number of benefits to going back to school (Here I would also link to a prior blog entry- the perks of returning to school). Binghamton University offers non-trads more than a degree, it offers the experience of a university. Make sure you take advantage of the opportunities returning to school presents.