Back to school

TaLeiza Calloway

Adult students enroll in college classes after being out of school for a number of years

Freshman psychology major Kristin Kristidis studies for her general psychology class in the Student Center. Kristidis, 39, is surrounded by college students nearly half her age, but she said she waited to study for her bachelor’s degree until she was read

Credit: Carl Schierhorn

Ronald Jump is a full-time student majoring in philosophy and lives in Korb Hall. He is just your average student – except he is 69 years old.

Jump, like other non-traditional students, decided to come back to school after taking time off to pursue other things. He went to Western University, now Case Western Reserve University, in 1955 but did not graduate.

For 25 years, he has been doing research that matches philosophical ideas to corresponding numbers. He refers to this as formal social science.

“Philosophy is intellectual and deals in poetic symbols. The main emphasis is on universals,” he said. “The ideas are so basic and involved in what people do.”

His research looks at the universe, life, mind, art, expression, understanding and objectivity, which he refers to as U.L.M.A.E. Jump said he hopes to have his research published someday and would also like to teach.

Living on campus has not been a problem for Jump. As for the loud residence hall atmosphere, Jump said this semester it has been quieter than the last. He has a single room and enjoys his own space.

“It’s nice to not have any disturbances. I like my room,” he said.

Overall, he likes school and all the courses he is taking.

“I like all of my philosophy courses, but I think I’m enjoying the comparative religion the most,” he said.

As far as how school used to be when he first went and how it is now, he has not observed many changes over the years.

“School is like it’s always been. It’s very traditional,” he said.

Marilyn Thompson, sophomore pre-nursing major, also made the transition back to college. After being out of school since 1985, she returned to become a registered nurse. Thompson admits she has to get used to the college setting.

“At first it’s a little scary to come in with the younger students, but you have to buckle down and do what you have to do,” Thompson said.

Even though she sometimes feels out of place, Thompson said she loves school and has a 3.9 grade point average to prove it. School just takes getting used to.

“I always say, ‘This is an old brain. I want to keep it active,'” she said.

As a non-traditional student, Thompson has noticed some changes from when she was first in school. What stands out to Thompson are the study habits of younger students and the idea of cramming for exams, she said.

“People don’t study as much. I’ve noticed that study habits from my generation have changed,” she said.

Another student who has observed changes in education is Babette Bollini, sophomore communication studies major.

No stranger to Kent State, Bollini was a student in the fall of 1991. Because of this early connection with the school, she decided to come back, she said. However, things are different now.

“The biggest change since I’ve been in school is technology,” Bollini said. “You literally could not be a student if you didn’t have access.”

Coming back to school requires a lot of time management, Bollini said. In addition to school, non-traditional students have to sometimes deal with a social life and a family, she said.

So far, this semester is working for Bollini. Sometimes the reading can be too much and getting back into reading large amounts of material is an adjustment for her, she said.

Adult students adapt to college differently than the traditional student entering from high school. To aid in this process, the Adult Student Center, formerly the office of Adult Services, is here to help. Most of the staff is adult students, and they share their experiences as well as refer students to other campus resources, program coordinator LuWanda Higgins said.

“When students walk through the door, it’s about advocacy and responding to the needs of our students,” she said.

Among the services the Adult Student Center offers are academic advising, career counseling and programs such as Adult Learning Week. For Adult Learning last October there were information tables set up on the second floor of the Student Center and safety and winterization car checks outside of the M.A.C. Center. Students even received free air pressure gauges, Higgins said.

Because continuing education students are usually juggling many things at once, it may be hard for them for them to enjoy being a student. As an ongoing student herself, Higgins admits the students, staff and faculty at Kent State have made her education possible.

“We’re always encouraging students to make connections and form relationships across campus,” Higgins said.

The Adult Student Center serves all eight campuses and the Northeast Ohio region. It is located in room 181 in the Michael Schwartz Center.

Contact features correspondent TaLeiza Calloway at [email protected]