The thought of college can be nerve-racking when meeting unfamiliar faces, selecting a major or forfeiting precious sleep over countless deadlines.
Although these hindrances are unavoidable, it has not stopped the older generation from taking advantage of educational opportunities.
The California Baptist University’s Fall 2017 Enrollment Summary reported that the average age of an undergraduate stu- dent at CBU is 23. The master’s program consists of a higher average in age group, ranging between the ages of 25 and 30.
Because a greater number of first-time students are not attending college directly after high school, the estimated number of older college students increases when enrolled in a higher level of education.
College is generally a time where students focus on learning how to properly prioritize their social, financial and academic lives. Finding a proper balance can be challenging but is crucial in student success. In addition to these struggles, “late-bloomers” can face more pressure to manage their professional and personal lives.
Laura Sims, sophomore public health major, said being surrounded by younger peers adds to her current stress and it can be challenging to relate with students who have a contrasting maturity level.
“I recently turned 27 years old and regret pursuing my education later in my life,” Sims said. “I feel the most anxious and intimidated when I see students graduating who are more than four years younger than me.”
Although the age gap between classmates can be distressing, Brian Schmidt, junior accounting major, said he does not view the disparity as an anchor holding him down.
Schmidt said years of work and plenty of life experiences have motivated him to truly pursue his educational goals, even at 56 years old.
“After working at Harvest Fellowship with young adults for 14 years, I have learned not to be intimated by younger college students,” Schmidt said.
Brenda Norton, junior liberal studies major, said she has matured from her failures, taking advantage of unfortunate experiences in the past. They make the decision to embrace a more positive outlook in life, making them more determined to work vigorously to finally get their degree despite the misconception of being behind the normal student.
“I am excited to start a new beginning in life and have faith that all my past experiences can help me mentor the younger student who might need guidance,” Norton said.
Norton not only advises and influences the younger students in her class, she has children of her own that constantly search for her motivation to push them in the right direction in their educational lives.
Colleges recognize age as only a number, permitting students of all ages to enroll.
Although the student’s experiences may vary, it is their choice to either see the negative or positive aspects in his or her academic life.