My Experience Going Back to School as an Adult

I still remember starting my first day of class during the spring semester of 2010. I wanted to “get my feet wet” and started by taking one class while also working 20 hours a week. I enrolled in Computer Information Systems 118. I did not have any idea what I was getting myself into. In the back of my mind I think I thought this class was going to be geared towards fun and gaining knowledge with basic information on computers. Well, I was quickly informed that this was a “real” college class and I would need to treat this class as if I were going to a job. I learned rather quickly I needed to incorporate time-management into my daily routine.

Treating School Like a Job

When I started FRCC, I was a divorced mom of two busy daughters who were 8 and 12 at the time. The advice I received from a good friend of mine was to treat school as if it were my job. So, that is what I did. My class was on Monday and Wednesdays from 10:00-11:15. Whatever the assignments were for the next class period I would go into a study room and do my homework. Often times I would be in the computer lab getting help with the tutorial on whatever we were working on for that assignment. Cheri Doebrick was my instructor and quite supportive in my educational endeavors.

Balancing School, Kids and Work

My children are out of school around 3:30 p.m. so I would end my school day around 3:00 to do carpool. When I left FRCC for the day I put on my “mommy hat” and I did my motherly duties until they went to bed or when I dropped them off at their dad’s house. By doing this my kids feel they are receiving my full attention during the time I spend with them. Then, when the kids went to bed, my books came out of my backpack for whatever else needed to be finished. The other three days out of the week I would go to my other job.

My Key to Success: Time Management

I cleaned houses for a living and that is the reason why I made a life decision to go back to school. Cleaning houses is physically demanding and I could not see myself doing this until I was 65+ years old. The positive to my cleaning job was I had more time to stand and listen than to sit and study. To prepare for quizzes and tests I purchased a small tape recorder and taped my definitions and concepts for my computer class. I would memorize the information while I was working. This is where time management became the key to my success. I learned that I absorbed the information more quickly by listening to my recorder than sitting and reading the terms over and over again.

Persevering in the Face of Tragedy

Life is funny and does throw us a few curve balls. Two days after summer classes started in 2010 my ex-husband committed suicide and left me to raise our two beautiful daughters alone. With tremendous support from so many friends, family, teachers and faculty at FRCC I am keeping my dream alive and have continued this college journey. I really believe deep down inside that going to school through this tragedy, has kept me focused on something positive. If I were not attending classes I think I might have curled up in a ball and tried to escape this nightmare.

I have now completed two years at FRCC and I am taking 13 credit hours. I still approach school the same way as I did when I was only taking one class. I go into the main campus doors at 9:00 and I stay until 5:00. If I were not here getting an education I would be working somewhere and having those same hours.

Teachers Who Want Us to Succeed

I work best here at school and take advantage of all the amenities that FRCC has to offer. The writing center has been an enormous help as well as the math lab. If you have not checked out these two options, please take the time to do so. We as students are blessed to have driven teachers that want to see us succeed so go in and ask questions because they want to help.

Enjoying the College Journey

My two daughters have enjoyed this college journey with me. We have often laughed about my math classes and what a long journey that class has been. Luckily, my girls have math brains and will do exceptionally well when they attend college in the future. I definitely have learned to laugh at myself and keep putting one foot in front of the other with a smile on my face.



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Nancy Condon is a 43 year old single mother of two daughters and she is going back to school to earn a degree in Human Resource Management. In her spare time, Nancy enjoys hiking in the mountains, going to movies, exercising, and has recently taken up boxing with her 14 year old daughter.

6 Responses to “My Experience Going Back to School as an Adult”

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August 15, 2012 at 6:30 pm, Larry Olson said:

Nice Article Nancy I am Proud of You…….Love Dad

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August 16, 2012 at 12:30 pm, Lynda Sizemore said:

I agree with Nancy re doing a physically demanding job until past your Prime”, (I am 62), so I opt to go from a busy homebirth midwifery practice of 27 years and decided my first calling, nursing would help me ease into the future decades I have ahead. I have come full circle and am enrolled parttime this semester to earn a phlebotomy certificate, and at the same time, working towards updating my nursing skills to get my LPN nursing license back. I don’t know if labor and delivery would be my calling at that time, but I know I am leaning towards an RN degree.
Anyway, good luck in your endeavors, Nancy, I “see through a glass darkly” but I have all ears and eyes focusing on a wonderful new step in life at FRCC.

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August 17, 2012 at 11:07 pm, Jean-luc Pelchat said:

I recently was honorably discharged from the Navy where I had spent most of my adult life and 3 years before I left I started to find my niche in computers. 12 years is a long time to spend in the Navy and I have no regrets but it wasn’t my choice to leave so I am making the best of it by pursuing my education in computer science and programming. To go from a fast paced job like the Navy and seeing the world to attending school is a major change for me at 30. I have the GI Bill to pay for college but on top of that the biggest help will be my wife of 2 years and my 5 year old daughter as they show me so much support whether it is going to Afghanistan or starting my degree. Just a little side note I just now completed my GED because I never graduated high school. If I can do it anybody can!

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August 19, 2012 at 11:28 am, Marjorie said:

Thanks for sharing! I am 46 and started SU12… 2 yrs to go for my information technology degree. I relate to much of what you said and appreciate hearing it from someone in a similar situation – I will be hitting more of the help centers this semester after reading your article – but I also live in the math lab!

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August 23, 2012 at 9:15 am, Michell Marin said:

I just started Front Range Community College this fall. I do housekeeping for a living and it can be a hard job. I dont want to do housekeeping until I am 65 either! I really like the part about how you said that you treat school as a job. I went to school before and I did not finish it so now I want to take school very seriously. Thank you for writing this and good luck.

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August 27, 2012 at 10:47 pm, Deborah Miller said:

Nancy, what a great article. Very inspiring and heartfelt. I’m so proud of you….Love, Auntie Deb