Meredith College Student Newspaper /
Jan. 18, 1995, edition 1 /
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Common threads bind diverse program
contributed by Lisa Alexander
It may be the beautifully made-up,
stylishly-dressed woman across the
room, wearing the same outfit your
mom bought at Belt’s or the anxious
one with soft, curly brown hair and
hlue-framed glasses, whose smile re
minds you of your grandmother’s. Or
perhaps it’s the pretty young blond in
Spanish lab with no make-up and a
ponytail hanging down her back, who
you overhear talking about the ex
pense of day care for her twin girls.
Whether it’s by their look, anxiety,
self-possession or conversation, it
doesn’t take long to discover the re
entry students in your class.
For many traditional college-age
students at Meredith, it’s a surprise
when the woman you assumed was
the professor is just another studeht
— a discovery that isn’t always com
fortable. But as national trends show,
both men and women are returning to
college to finish, update, or add to a
degree to compete in a down-sizing
job market. It’s a scenaria that’s, be
coming more commonplace.
Meredith’s growing re-entry pro
gram, which accounts for 21% of the
campus’ student population, is designed
for adults 23 years of age or older who
have typically been out of school for
some time. The program helps these
new students to reacquaint themselves
with the procedures of college life.
WTiile some of these students are in
graduate programs or seeking to com
plete a second or third degree, many
more are beginning or completing an
undergraduate degree program.
The surprise is greatest for the
Experiencing college for the first time,
freshmen discover that Meredith is a
“diverse campus, perhaps more diverse
than they may have expected,” said
Sandra Close, director of the re-entry
program in the Office of Continuing
Blond, with penetrating slate-gray
eyes and a ready laugh. Close is herself
a graduate of Meredith’s re-entry pro
gram. Sitting behind a large pile of blue
folders and surrounded by the rainbow
of colored paperwork it takes to track
425 re-entry students through to gradu
ation, Close smiles as she reminisces.
“I was a 40-year-old freshman in
1980, and usually the only non-tradi-
tional student in my class,” says Close.
After graduation she came to work in
the re-entry program under Anne Dahl
and has watched the numbers of re
entry women increase steadily.
So who are re-entry students? Ask
Close, and she just laughs and shakes
her head. “There is no such thing as a
typical re-entry student,” says Close.
The program includes abroadspec-
trum “from single mothers on welfare
to the wives of successful doctors.”
But even through their diversity, com
mon threads do shine.
From her experience in advising
re-entry students over the years. Close
has found two recurring characteris
tics: “They all really want a degree.
And usually the trigger has been some
change in their lives.”
She pauses and then explains, “Not
so much because of an ‘empty nest’
anymore. These women are looking
for more money, a better job, a promo
tion that they’ve been passed over for
before or even the skills to get then-
She laughs and adds, “And they’re
usually very grade-conscious!”
How to survive being a re-entry student
contributed by Janet Butts
Scary, isn’t it? You are back in
school after so man years, and you are
probably overwhelmed. You have
classes every day and homework ev
ery night. In addition, you probably
have a husband and children, and you
may have a job. Do not despair. While
you already know that your success in
school will not be easy, there are some
ways to eliminate some of the pres
1. Get family support. You cannot
be a successful re-entry student if you
try to be Superwoman. Ask your fem-
ily for help around the house. If each
family member agrees to do one extra
chore, you will have more time to
Share your new knowledge with
your femily. 'They really are interested
in what you are doing, and your will
ingness to share what you are learning
with them might encourage them to
share their learning experiences with
you. While taking English 201,1 taught
my son the same lines from Chaucer
that I memorized, and my son taught
me how to count to 100 in Spanish!
And remember, when your family sees
how enthusiastic you are and how hard
you are working, they may actually
volunteer to do more chores.
2. Organize your time. Remember,
you are following a schedule that will
change your life. You must routinely be
in class and be ready to concentrate.
This task requires a tremendous amount
of energy. Set up a schedule at home
and stick to it. Be sure to include time
to rest. You are not reading romance
novels any more, you are reading for
details on a daily basis. Your enthusi
asm and energy will start to decrease If
you try to read and study as if there is
tomorrow. For every two hours that
you study, take a fifteen minute break.
3. Get to know your instructors.
Your instrurtors are human, and they
want you to succeed. Most of them will
take the time to listen to you andto help
you if you are having problems with
your courses. They also know that you
are a re-entry student and that you
occasionally have situations at home
work and/or studying for a test. Make
up tests and late papers are usually
accepted without penalty if you ex
plain your situation to your instructor.
Last semester, my husband had the flu,
my daughter had a migraine, and my
son had surgery, all in the same week.
Each of my instructors gave me an
extra week to turn in all of my work
and make up all of my tests.
4. Do no be intimidated by the
younger students. One re-entry stu
dent said that when she walked into
her first class she immediately felt dis
couraged. As she looked around, she
said that all she could think about was
how the students looked so pretty and
see REENTRY page seven
Remember these deadlines:
• Institute of Government Sum
mer Intern Program—January 23
•North Carolina Summer In
ternship Program—January 27
•Democratic Reform Profect
of the Institute for Southern Stud
•NC Now Newsmaker - UNC
Center for Public Television
•Research and Evaluation As
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Physical Fitness and Health
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•Merril Lynch and Company
•League of Women Voters
•Curtis Media Group
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GAP Work Study:
•open to all majors!
•discover aU the details: Fri
day, January 20,10:00 -11:00 am
in the Career Resource Room.
Sign-up today for these compa
•Carolina Office Equipment
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