Category Archives: Adult Students

Persistence, Paying Off.

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It takes persistence to complete a college degree; Sharon Nava can attest to this fact more than most. A published poet in addition to a returning student, Sharon has a story (below) that mirrors many others here at Parkland’s Adult Re-entry Center.  She is on course to complete a degree in May 2016, a date that corresponds with another milestone date in her life.

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I first came to Parkland in 1990 after the company I worked for shut down. The Job Training Partnership Act (JTPA) folks came in and gave us a choice: They could help find us another job or send us to school to retrain for a new one. I’ve always loved learning, so I scanned the Parkland catalog and found a program that they would agree to send me to. I graduated with my certificate as a Pharmacy Technician in 1991, on the 25th anniversary of my high school graduation!

I continued to take classes off and on, but I had to stop when my husband became terminally ill. By now, I had retired, and I spent many hours praying for help in determining where I needed my life to go. One morning, I received a message that I needed to pursue what makes me happy, and since then I’ve been back here at Parkland taking classes.

I plan to attend my graduation, earning my associate’s degree in General Studies in May 2016—the 50th anniversary of my high school graduation!

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You’re never too old to improve yourself; you just have to stick with it. The Adult Re-entry Center can help you write the next chapter of your life’s story, just as we’re helping Sharon.  Call or e-mail me to discuss your options: Call 217/351-2462 or email me at finishyourdegree@parkland.edu. You can also stop by Room U233 to set up a visit.

She’s doing it. So can you.

deannaFear and its BFF, Doubt, are the two main reasons adult learners cite when asked about returning to school to seek a college education.

Meet Deanna Cannon, a first-semester student at Parkland who has had to overcome many doubts and fears along the way to becoming a college student. Deanna graciously agreed to take a moment to answer some of my questions about her early experiences here.

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Tony:  What are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced as a returning student?
Deanna:  Time management–I’ve had to learn how to balance school and work.

Tony:  What’s been most surprising about returning to school?
Deanna: That I’ve done as well as I have, to be honest. I think that as an adult learner, I don’t have any test anxiety. I’m more self-confident. Life experience has taught me how I learn best.

Tony: Tell me what you see as an advantage of being an adult learner.
Deanna: As an adult learner, I don’t worry about the social aspects of school. I’m focusing on the books, not the party!

Tony: What advice would you give to other adults as they’re beginning?
Deanna: Don’t discount yourself because of your age. I don’t have one particular thing that I’m focused on. Don’t limit yourself to possibilities. You don’t HAVE to finish a two-year program in two years, and this opens up other potential pathways.

Tony: Is there anything else that you would like to add in closing?
Deanna: As an adult, I’m not afraid to use resources that are available. I’m no longer worried about being labeled ‘stupid’ if I ask for help. I know that I don’t have to do this by myself.
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You don’t have to go it alone, either. Parkland’s Adult Re-entry Center can help you find the courage and resources you need to take a powerful step in your career and life journey. Call or e-mail me to discuss your options: 217/351-2462  or  finishyourdegree@parkland.edu. Or just stop by U233 and say hi.

Online Students Ought to Know…

…that you need to schedule the times on your calendar to work on your online course. 

This is a must! Not only should you be scheduling the due dates for course work, but you should be scheduling time to work on the assignments prior to the due dates.  Waiting until the last minute can cause undue stress for you in the instance that you have a question for your instructor and cannot reach him or her.  It’s important to plan ahead on all assignments!