Nontraditional Students - New Hope in the New Year

Hello, all nontraditional students. Happy New Year!

Did you watch the New Year's festivities in New York City for New Year's Eve? They had two hosts, Ryan Seacrest and the original host, Dick Clark, who had a stroke in 2004, and now speaks in a much lower voice register. I personally remember him from many years of New Year's Eve telecasts.
Dick Clark, 1990. Photo by Alan Light on Flickr.

I got used to hearing him speak during the event with his new, slower bass voice, but still could not help but notice the difference between his old voice and his new one. I admired him for even trying it. I also admired him for his tenacity and bravery.

It's not everyone who could actually do this. Dick Clark has gone through some huge changes. I also commend the TV station for having him participate.

An article on interviewed Mark Shapiro, who is Chief Executive of Dick Clark Productions. Shapiro called Dick Clark a "beacon of light" and also said that his continued presence on the show could serve as an "inspiration" to others.

I think that Dick Clark and his comeback directly relates to the bravery and problems many nontraditional students must overcome in their educational journey.

I think a big reason some nontraditional students do NOT go back to school, and stay in jobs that are perhaps unfulfilling is that they do not believe in themselves, or do not believe that they can overcome what they think of as a disability - their age.  I think that Dick Clark never lost his faith in himself. That is what helped him be there for the event last night. It took so much practice and gumption, but he did it anyway.
Times Square 07, from Mike Schmid on Flickr.

He didn't let it get to him that he was older, or had a stroke. I suspect that some people could have spoken out against having him there.

Would it alienate new audiences? Would he still help make the event exciting? Was he "too old" to be there? Sometimes it is age alone that makes older performers  and employees be first on the list to leave. Is that fair? No, but it is something that happens.

Though it is true (I believe) that age discrimination is alive and well in the U.S. still today, the very fact that more and more nontraditional students are going back to school today proves that things can change and are changing for the better for older students going back to school after a break. Otherwise, older students would not have the self-esteem or the courage to even try to go back.

I say Go, Nontrads! This new year, 2012, is another chance for many older people to go for their dreams by going back to school and learning new things. My imaginary hat tips out to all of them.
This cool hat art is from Jody McNary Photography on Flickr.

Share your story! Are you a nontraditional student? Are you back in school, or thinking about it? Leave a comment or contact me about your story.

I'd love to hear it and perhaps even feature you and your story here on the Nontrad Blog, or even on a Tweet, our Facebook page, or on the Nontraditional Student website.


Former Nontraditional Student
Western Kentucky University

Read more - Story Articles: 
Dick Clark and "Rockin' Eve" Reach 40th Anniversary
Dick Clark hopes 'Rockin' Eve' 40th anniversary is not his last
Nontraditional College Students: America's Most Important Group by Daniel Luzer / Washington Monthly
Opinion: We Need to Fight Age Bias; Jack Gross on Workplace Discrimination (AARP)
The Gray Matters Coalition - Ending Age Discrimination

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