Steinberg: Diary of a Non-Traditional College Student Part 1 (Is College Worth It?)

By Alex Veeneman on May 29, 2012

EDITOR’S NOTE: This post was written by Jodi Steinberg and posted by me because of technical problems.


A debate has been ensuing in response to the cost of higher education.
(Photo courtesy of the federal government)

Admittedly, I am a desperate out of work four year full time “older” college student who comes with more baggage, pessimism and skepticism, then I would like to admit.

I am that girl.  The one in class that sits in a front row seat to see and hear the professor the best.  The one who is constantly talking about how hard the economy is out in the “real world,” and how difficult it is to find a job.  Yes, that’s me.  However, when I was asked to do a bi-weekly column I thought about what is it that 1. I know and 2. I want to share.  It seems natural for me to write a sort of diary and advice column to the younger students out there in a bi-weekly format.

Am I going to ramble on and on about the same ole’ stuff out there that you hear from almost every adult?  No way.  The get good grades, study, study, study blah, blah, blah?  No chance.  I wouldn’t have fun writing that, nor would anyone enjoy reading it.  Instead I am going to go at this from an angle of humorous stories, observations and advice from a fun place.

On that note I will say that getting good grades and studying hard will get you farther in life for many reasons.  My first time in college I didn’t really follow that path, however, I have seen the error of my ways and I am a proud 36 year old, non-traditional college junior with a 4.0 GPA. In addition I now have a new shiny resume just from the activities I have participated in college this second time around.

CNN was just commenting about it being worth it to go “back” to college.  The panel thought it was a good idea to wait out the bad economy in college and hopefully to have a degree when you graduate and are looking for a job in a recovered economy.  In fact they did say that the earnings for a college graduate are 70% higher than for a non-college graduate.  They also stated that people are earning far smaller salaries than they did ten years ago.  So, my guess is that there are probably more people out there like me: the older college student.  These are called re-entry or adult students who are generally over 25 years of age.

The United States Department of Education has reported that 42% of all college students are 25 years of age or older.  Eighty percent of adult students study at community or junior colleges and 50% of adult student are enrolled in four-year institutions.  Those numbers reflect an increase of 2% between 2000 and 2009.  Sixty-three percent of that increase is female based.

So, a little advice to the younger traditional student: we adult students are returning to school in full force, and we have wisdom to impart.

I'm a student journalist based in the Greater Chicago area. I'm Uloop's Campus Editor at Lewis University. In addition, I'm the Opinions Editor for The Flyer newspaper, a contributor at the UK-based online publication Kettle, and run the blog The World's Media.

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