In 2012 at the ripe old age of forty-eight, I lost my mind — or so some folks would have me think — and returned to school as a student at Hudson Valley Community College. I hadn’t stopped to consider my age or the fact that I had been away from school for over thirty years. I just jumped in with both feet and took up a full schedule of classes.

classroom-379214_960_720   My first semester consisted of evening and off-campus classes so I was not so unusual as a few others were also over forty. It was sometime during my third semester as a student at Hudson Valley that I realized that I was invisible. Not in a literal sense but in a figurative sense. By this time I was taking classes on campus during the day. Now I WAS pretty much the only one of my age in my classes — sometimes even the instructor was younger.  I did well in my classes and made the President’s List, but outside of classes I was a non-entity. There are no groups for a student of a non-traditional age. All of the activities are geared towards the younger crowd that make up the majority of the student population and often assignments are geared towards the eighteen to twenty-five year old set.

invisible-man-154567_960_720  At this point I must digress and tell readers a bit about myself. I graduated from HVCC with honors and transferred to UAlbany two years ago where I am now a History Major and English Minor with U.S. History being my concentration. I am a commuter student who doesn’t live anywhere near campus and I have a life outside of being a full-time college student.

With all of this in mind I am also excited to be a part of the MyStory project. FINALLY! There is a place where I don’t have to be invisible! I can share my triumphs and my woes with anyone else out there who is over thirty and invisible! I hope my writings will help others who may be feeling alone in a sea of traditionally college aged students. Maybe some traditional students will read my work and tell a parent or an aunt or uncle that they, too, CAN achieve a dream of going back to school. My main hope is that by writing about my experiences I will be able to help someone to feel like they are not alone and their experiences and struggles are not entirely unique.

phoebePhoebe E. 
Class of 2016
Major: History
Minor: English
Blog Theme: Trials and Triumphs 
of a Non-Traditional Student... 

Please Note: The views of our student bloggers do not necessarily reflect the views of the UAlbany Advisement Services Center. These are their stories and their voices.

Established in March 2015, Project MyStory is a community building effort to help students better acclimate to UAlbany and to work more effectively toward their goals. We began in UAlbany’s Academic Support Center (ASC), where you will see many of the posters featured above. We are now co-housed in ASC and in the Center for International Education and Global Strategy (CIEGS).

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