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"When I came back to UND 23 years after leaving the school for my Air Force career, I had received almost nothing that helped me figure out how much the campus had changed in those years. I figured out Campus Connection and registered for classes, bought my books at the bookstore and planned to attend classes and do my assigned work, get my degree and be done. I didn't foresee many opportunities for a student of my age to become involved in campus activities as I felt college was for "young" people.Early on that first semester I received an e-mail from the Adult Re-Entry Center inviting me to come to the Wednesday meeting of Coffee, Cookies, and Conversation and the e-mail included a brief description of both the Adult Re-Entry Program and the event. That time was available on my schedule so I swung by the next meeting. In hindsight, this was probably the best decision I have made while attending UND. What I found at the gathering was other students like myself that were older, some had families, some also had jobs, many had kids, all lived either in campus family housing or off campus, and all seemed to be looking for the same thing, people like themselves who were students with lives that went beyond classes and what club or party to go to this weekend. And the weekly speakers have opened my eyes to many services and programs the university has that make a better student. I have used several of these services and it has allowed me to be a much better student.
What the Adult Re-Entry Center did for me is allow me to understand the university and my program. Sandy Monette, the director at the time, helped me fully understand the Essential Studies program and advised me on some of the class requirements I had. As I continued to attend events and just swing by when I had a question, Sandy really helped me narrow my focus on my degree and progress as fast as I could. Another person that was part of the center was Kathryn Vigness, a graduate student that was doing an internship in the Adult Re-Entry Center. Kathryn, being a recent undergrad and current graduate student, being a student and fitting the Non-Traditional Student definition, was able to connect me with faculty and staff that could make me a better student and give me advise of some student pitfalls. Her perspective really opened my eyes to being a student and being much more proactive in my education.
The center itself became my "home base" while on campus. As my schedule changed from semester to semester, sometimes it got hard to attend the Wednesday gatherings, but I always went there to have lunch, do homework, use computers, get advice, or just hang out and visit with other students.
The center has also given me the opportunity to meet old and new friends. The students that frequent the center are my "security blanket" in being non-traditional and slightly older than a majority of the student body, we have common likes and dislikes, needs and abilities. I always look forward to going to the center to see who is there and what is new in their lives.
Now that I am nearly done with my degree, the current director, Jessica Rosencrans, has helped me verify requirements for graduation, continues to facilitate the Wednesday gathering, and is always there to support me and my goals.
In my six, soon to be seven, semesters back in school now, the Non-Traditional Student Center, the staff, and the students that gather there has helped me not only complete my educational goals, but supported and guided me, advised me, and shown me new opportunities to succeed and attain higher degrees of educational results than I could have ever expected, to include becoming a Student Ambassador and being selected as the 2010-2011 Non-Traditional Student of the Year."