Nontraditional Students and Unlimited Thinking - what does it mean to us?

Unlimited Thinking - what does that mean to me? To you?

I was thinking about my nontraditional student experiences lately (as usual!)

As some of my readers know, I went back to school as a nontraditional student several years ago. I only went back to school for two years. (Vs. some other nontraditional students going for 4 years or longer...) The reason was that I went for a Certificate and already had my first degree (in English).

Both going for 2 years or less, or going for 4 years (of course) are valid choices. And although I have student loans to pay off right now, I COULD decide to go back again sometime, and add more years to my educational journey. I think about that occasionally - - seriously.

And I also think about the whole reason I went back to school. I wanted to open new doors for myself. And I had always wanted to try teaching out ever since I was younger, with an English degree and no teaching certificate.

Now I feel going back to school did something entirely unexpected for me. It made me change my way of thinking. I no longer think that I HAVE to do something I plan to do for the rest of my life. I can change my mind. I have found out that it is okay for things to change - - and for me to change too.

For instance, I have worked in the printing industry as a proofreader, a typesetter, and then a graphic designer for over 30 years, BUT I am not forced to do that forever. Going back to school taught me that, and gave me a lot of new job ideas too.

I think another definition of having Unlimited Thinking is not putting yourself in a rut for your whole life. It also frees you to think about the Big Picture. I realize now more than ever that I can STILL do whatever I want to do with my life. I used to think that because I was older, my life was going to stay the same forever. Ack! What an awful thought. I knew that I didn't want to ever go back and experience the same things I already did before.

In the past, I kept some of my jobs because I was afraid to do anything else. I was raising a child by myself, which is scary enough. I didn't want to rock the boat with my life or by looking for something better. I was long overdue for a new adventure in my life.

Does this sound at all like you? Are you doing what you want to do right now? For those who are already back in school, you may recognize yourself somewhere in my story. And if you are not, if you are wondering what you can do to make your life better, maybe going back to school will help you figure that out. Maybe it will start you on the path towards something wonderful.

What do YOU think? Are you on a journey right now? What kind? Have you ever tried doing something different? How did that work out? I look forward to finding out about that.

And I want to thank my readers and friends online for helping me do what I love and helping me continue my educational journey too. Later!

Nontraditionally Yours,

Some Nontrad links: The Nontrad site and blog Join Nontrads on Facebook Nontrads on Yahoo Nontrads on Twitter 

The clip art of a student on an educational journey is from the Microsoft Clipart pages.


  1. Barb Dwyer1:23 PM

    UNlimited thinking was never a problem for me - it's theLIMITED thinking =- the cramming of one's ideas into an already established pattern that I can't seem to do.

    For me, I've spent my entire life doing what others told me was what I 'should' be doing. And it succeeded in making me tired, old, unhappy, broke and homeless in Montana.
    This time - I'm doing what I've always WANTED to do, and combining all the years of experience, and a talent into one ... goal. Since making that decision, and combining the two things into one plan of service ... it's been as if a trap door has opened under my feet and I've landed on a slide that has me whooshing through ever opening doors. Not frightening at all but thrilling, Indiana Jones type of stuff!

    I'm not making any frameworks, no time frames, no high bars set up. I've paid my dues and now it's my time. I am experiencing higher education from a relaxed, almost indulgentframe of reference and it's been amazing this first year.

    I'm old enough to know better, and wise enough to improvise. It's comforting to me to see so many non trads at my school, some even older than me! It helps me keep going forward.

  2. I love it! I hope your life keeps on feeling like that. It sounds so exciting!

  3. I agree that unlimited thinking opens up many possibilities. Many nontrads are temporarily bound by raising families and literally cannot afford to "rock the boat" right now.

    I am blessed to have a husband that pushes me to continue my education. My little ones are now 9 and 11 and capable of taking on responsibilities. I am old enough to recognize the value of my education but scared enough to wonder what if?

  4. Thanks for sharing that. It becomes clear to me that nontraditional students can be excited AND scared... all at the same time. :-)

  5. I am currently a non trad full time student at LDS Business College and I'm loving it! I know that I have changed my mind twice on what I want to be when I grow up...It's ok. I just love the school and I love knowing that I am improving my education. Great BLOG btw!

  6. Thanks so much, Lisa! I am glad you found a school you like a lot. I appreciate your comment too. :-)

  7. I do recognise myself in your story! I stayed in a certtain field (administration) for more than 20 years because I didn't know what else I could do. Now I'm at uni and I'm still not 100% sure where it will lead me and even thought the other day that I was actually a great administrator and was just bored in my particular area. I also realise that I may return to the same field but my degree will enable me to return in a different capacity, give me a much needed boost of confidence I need to explore other areas, and the freedom to advance further in my chosen career! It's all a journey and sometimes it leads back to where we started but the adventure is still worth it!

  8. That is such an interesting story. I look forward to learning more about your journey and what you wind up doing. Thanks for the great comment.

  9. My husband is also very supportive. It makes such a great difference. Thanks for sharing!

  10. I am a nontraditional student who went back to school for 2 years. It was hard, crazy good and an extreme educational make over! I am so glad I did it!



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