Adult services helps non-traditional students adjust to campus life

Lauren Frankovich

Joyce Wall starts her day at 8:30 a.m. with a cup of coffee and a textbook.

Then Wall makes phone calls for her first job before she leaves for the day. She arrives on campus at noon, goes to work at her second job and attends class until 8 p.m. After class, Wall studies at the library or her home.

Wall may sound like a traditional college student, but she isn’t. At age 50 she decided to come back to school after her children were finished with school.

Like many other adult students on campus, one of the most important lessons Wall has learned in college is time management.

Wall has a tight schedule Monday through Friday. “I have too much on my schedule. Most days I just go through the motions,” she said.

Like Wall and René Holmes, 43, many adult students struggle to manage their time. Adult Services is an on-campus organization designed to help adult students because “adult students have different needs and issues,” said Rachel Anderson, director of Adult Services.

Anderson said adult students have to balance adult responsibilities with a college life.

“They’re doing everything you have to do as an adult, plus school,” she said. 

Adult Services offers an orientation course for adult students, and it also helps adult students develop study skills and find child care, Anderson said.

“We want to help them with the challenges of being an adult student,” she said.

Wall is an orientation leader at Adult Services and became involved with the orientation program after she took the course. Wall said the orientation program seems to help adult students. “Many people come in and leave with a well-informed attitude,” she said.

On Saturday and Sunday, Wall spends most of her time studying, but she leaves some time for herself. “On Saturdays, I have mandatory down time. I watch cartoons so I don’t have to think,” she said.

Holmes is also an adult student who has learned the importance of time management.

The senior political science major has a tight schedule during the week. When Holmes isn’t working or attending classes, she’s studying.

“I go to school, go to work and go home,” she said. 

Wall and Holmes also have to manage the time they spend with their families.

Wall’s daughter helps her study on the weekend and even helped her learn her way around campus.

“I’m lucky my family supports me. They’re used to me being there for them and not them being there for me,” she said.

Holmes moved to Kent from Cleveland when she decided to come back to school. “I wanted to get far enough away but not too far away,” she said.

Because Holmes lives far away from her family, she isn’t able to spend much time with them. “Your family has to be understanding because it can put a strain on the relationship,” she said.  

Wall and Holmes will both be able to spend more time with their families when they are finished with school.

“There will be spaces of time I won’t know what to do,” Wall said.

“It will give me a chance to spend more time with my grandchildren. And I’ll finally be able to get married,” Holmes said.

Contact transportation reporter Lauren Frankovich at [email protected].