If you’re returning to college after being out in the world for a few years, perhaps starting a family or experimenting with different kinds of work, you may feel as if college traditions don’t apply to you. After all, you’re not eighteen anymore, and your reasons for wanting to continue your education are very serious. However, even for non-traditional college students, there are a few college traditions that will enhance your experience if you follow them:
Be sure you don’t allow yourself to become isolated. Many times, non-traditional students have heavy responsibilities outside their classes, and they tend to snatch time to study at odd moments in between taking care of other duties. You will experience a greater sense of wellbeing and more productive use of your time if you make the effort to find other people to study with. With new online meeting platforms, you don’t even have to be in the same time zone as the other people in your study group, and you can all join forces to help each other through tough spots in the coursework.
It’s likely that you’ll have certain times in the term when you’re burning the midnight oil to complete assignments. Even if you’re studying on your own, stash a few special healthy treats that you only unwrap after midnight, and you’ll have more energy to get that paper written before the deadline.
Many undergraduate colleges have traditions that involve group singing of songs that evoke the special spirit of the institution. While these musical traditions probably don’t match your real-world experience as a non-traditional student, you can still find great beauty and reverence in the world of music. Attending a musical church service or joining a choir is a way to give voice to your spiritual life and escape from your numerous obligations for a while.
The focused effort of studying often brings with it a tradition of going outside with friends to blow off some steam. Exercise and fresh air are great antidotes for stress, and brain cells work better after your body has had a chance to move around. As a non-traditional student, you might not have potential motivators up and down your hall, but you can put this tradition into place in your own life by establishing a regular exercise routine, especially during those times when coursework is extra-demanding.
As you meet other adult students at CAGS, you can compare notes and share each person’s new versions of old-fashioned college traditions.