Adults return to college for retooling

During our slowed economy, many job losses and promise for more, adults are going back to school.

Alabama’s two year colleges show dramatic increases in enrollment. One local college has historically welcomed adults: Jefferson State Community College.

Huntingdon College holds classes at the Jefferson State’s Shelby Campus, offering a four year degree. I spoke with Lisa Hart, a single mother of two teens. She is a full time YMCA employee, and a student at this Huntingdon location.

“Tell me about your experience as a working mother returning to school,” I began.

She replied, “I’m a much better student, compared to when I was in my 20s and earning an associate degree.”

“What was your reason for returning?

“Career growth first, and job security; also, personal fulfillment. Now I’m interested in every subject, won’t settle for less than a B. I enjoy sharing in class, ask questions; sit up front so I’ll not miss anything.”

“Would you say life, being a parent has changed your motivation?”

“Being a parent has made me more tenacious, determined. I’m excited to be in school again.”

“What are you plans?”

“I’ll complete my business management degree through Huntingdon, graduating May 2010. Then either continue the YMCA career path or I may go to law school. I have other ideas, all very exciting.”

“How do you juggle everything, and, also take care of yourself?”

“Getting rest is the biggest challenge. I need more than the six or seven hours sleep a night I get. My work at the YMCA keeps me fit. I’ve always eaten healthy, still do. I’m at a fantastic time of life, busier than ever, more tired than ever, but happier than ever before. I’m right where I want to be.”

Jefferson State Community College defines adult students as those over age 25, single/married/widowed/divorced, parents or not; GED recipients: who are beginning for the first time or returning after an interruption of education. The college offers information, guidance, referrals and seminars called New Options for adults beginning college in spring 2009.

In each weekly session you can receive information on college admission, financial aid guidelines, selecting/registering for classes and becoming a successful student. For information, call 856-7718.