Hi there! I just started reading your blogs and I’m now convinced you’re the perfect person to talk to about my situation!
Perfection is a high bar to clear, Steph, but I will give it my level best. 🙂
I read you’re getting a lot more e-mails than before (Congrats!) so I’m hoping you get around to answering mine soon. Let me not waste anymore time…
I’m currently working full-time and not taking classes. I went to a community college as a full-time student right after high school and received my AA with a 2.91 GPA.
After yet another summer break (I’ve never taken summer classes), I attempted to go full-time at a state university while working a full-time job at a law firm.
What I didn’t know at the time was that working full-time & going to school full-time at a university as opposed to a cc, were completely different monsters. Long story short, due to some personal circumstances, in addition to the unexpected work load both in school & work, I fell behind and caught up in only 3 of 4 my classes. In the end, I decided to withdraw from the entire semester. Well, yet another semester later and still at the law firm, I realized I’m 22 & I can’t believe I only have 2 years of school to show for it.
Well, let me stop you right there and at least interject this — 22 is still a baby as far as I and most of the full-time job grinders of the world are concerned. You may be a couple years behind the prototypical straight-to-college-from-high-school, graduate-in-four-years type of student, but honestly, those seem to be more rare than ever.
I look at my job and while I really like what I do (far more than any other job I’ve had) I kind of regret not going the traditional route of full-time schooling at a 4-year university. Plus, I know I don’t want a life-long career as a legal secretary. Attorney, maybe…but not a secretary.
Again, looking at your situation, you definitely still fit the role of “traditional college student” vs. the non-traditional old lady who’s going back to school among a bunch of young hooligans who don’t relate to her. You’re not Drew Barrymore in “Never Been Kissed.” 🙂 And believe me, there’s plenty of time to go to law school if that’s what you want to do. If you finished school two, or even four years from now, you’d still be younger than your average law school classmate upon entry.
The good news is that I’ve been offered an amazing opportunity to attend any single university in the nation (that will accept me, of course) for the remainder of my Bachelor’s degree at no charge –tuition, books, room & board, it’s all covered.
Holy shit. How’d you swing that? One of my personal pet peeves these days is the gross overuse of the word “amazing,” but you get a complete pass on this one — that is pretty damned amazing, you’re right.
I’m dying to get back to school, go full-time, get my degree, & hopefully start a promising career, as soon as possible! After seeing a glimpse of my future without a degree, I’m more determined than I’ve ever been to get it! Here’s my question: Is it too late to live that college life I feel I’ve missed out on?
Oh my goodness. HELL no. Really. With emphasis on the “HELL no” part.
What can I expect for a college experience as a 22 year old transfer with mostly a professional background?
You can expect to be around thousands of other 22-year-olds, 23-year-olds, 21-year-olds, 20-year-olds who have completed roughly the same amount of schooling that you have and share a great deal in common with you. You can probably also expect to be approached by a lot of 18-, 19- and 20-year-olds asking you to buy them booze.
No, really — all kidding aside, I see zero chance that you will not blend in perfectly with your classmates at a traditional university. I imagine the comments below will support me on this once they start to roll in.
Also, I’ve looked at a couple of schools but I’d really like to know what the best way to search for colleges is. I’d like to find a place with a lot of transfers who are serious about studying and minimal partying, ’cause I could really go without the distractions.
Well, at just about any four-year university, transfer students are going to be in the minority (this is educated speculation on my part — please correct me in the comments section if you guys know of some exceptions). Honestly, I wouldn’t recommend you make the transfer-student population a part of your decision criteria.
Once you transfer in — well, you’re just a student like everyone else. I was a transfer student (from Boston University to Southeast Missouri State), and while I was serious about my studies, I was also serious about my partying. And regardless of transfer status, you’ll find that a lot of students are that way.
However, if you want to avoid hard partying, then I don’t think that’s really hard to do, and I also don’t think it’s hard to find like-minded people. Not everyone — and not even a majority of students — want to get drunk three times a week and walk to class with a mind-bending hangover, even if that’s how you crazy college kids are often portrayed.
If you want to find the students who don’t party, it’s pretty easy. On a Friday or Saturday night, hang out in your dorm or the library or the student center or whatever. See any students? Yep, those are the ones who don’t party much. 🙂
But just to clarify, you may find some very, very serious students among the party-hard crowd. I’ve since gracefully retired from boozing myself, but I did graduate summa cum laude after taking my university exit exam while still legally intoxicated from the night before. (NOT that I recommend this, because I don’t, but you know, honesty is the name of the game around here and I can’t perpetuate the stereotype that hard boozers can’t also be excellent students).
I’ll be majoring in Economics and minoring in communications. The problem I find most with this criteria is a college with plenty of commuters and a lack of campus-life/community. Ideally, I’d still like to have somewhat of a social life.
The whole commuter-college or “suitcase school” thing is a legit phenomenon. I attended one of those (the aforementioned Southeast Missouri State). But a couple of points here:
a) It’s not too hard to find a social life if you really want one, even at a suitcase school. Depending on the size of your school, even if half your school goes home to Mom & Dad’s house over the weekend, that still leaves the other half on campus. And you have to ask yourself, how many people do you really need in order to have a decent social life? I mean, it’s not like you’re going to hang out and socialize, individually, with hundreds of people each night. If you’re like me, a few handfuls of good friends make for a more-than-satisfactory social life.
b) If you’re averse to a party culture, then a suitcase school might actually fit your needs better than the opposite. Despite what I just said above about being able to find a social life anywhere, it does stand to reason that if half the school is gone every weekend, then there will be a lot less going on than if they weren’t. So, in terms of distractions, there should be fewer of those.
Can you recommend any websites or other means of searching for the “right fit”?
Well, the best way to find out anything about anything is to ask the people who are already there. If it were me, of course the first thing I’d do is ask the people I know who attend the school what it’s like. After that, I’d probably do some guerrilla Facebooking — find people who go to that school and send them private messages. Introduce yourself briefly and ask if they mind answering some questions. Some will blow you off — no big deal. The ones who say yes will probably give you great information. Done.
I’m puzzled and could really use some words of wisdom. Thanks for your time, doc! I look forward to hearing from you! By the way, I’ve spread the word about you & shared your website with my Facebook friends! Hope it helps!
Thanks, Steph, for the email and the love-sharing.
OK, plenty of comment fodder in this one. At 22, is Steph too old to fit in on a college campus? Will she be derailed by a party culture? Can she find a social life? Let her know in the comments below.