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Non-traditional student

raindograindog Registered User Posts: 1 New Member
edited September 2012 in University of South Florida
I am a 30-year-old recovering alcoholic with a General Equivalency Diploma. I've been taking classes part-time at Hillsborough Community College since 2009, and I have completed their general education program with a perfect 4.0 grade-point average. To graduate with an Associates in Arts degree, I need four more elective courses and a capstone.

Unlike most students, I am not in college to prepare myself for a career, research, or networking opportunity. I go so that I can have interesting conversations with receptive professors. Typically, these are adjunct PhD candidates from the University of South Florida. If it were up to me I'd stay at HCC forever, but now they want me to pick electives, and a major, and go to USF.

I've explored a few academic dead-ends: mathematics, sociology, and journalism no longer appeal to me. I have an interest in natural science, computer science, and psychology, but I have reservations about them as majors. Namely, I don't believe I'm very good at hard science, I'm good enough at computer science, and a psych major is more familiar with research methods than I will ever care to be. At the moment, I'm looking into the history program. History is a sort-of tired subject for me. Much of my real-world work experience happens to be in the field. I even worked awhile for an institute based out of the USF College of Education, but that's another story.

I'd like to know if I'm headed for a brick wall. I'd like to believe the jump from HCC to USF won't be terribly traumatic. I hope USF will offer tiny classes, in good classrooms, with excellent professors who make time to talk with students out of class. Perhaps there are current USF students, or transfers from HCC, who can share their experiences, impressions, successes, mistakes, or regrets. Thank you.
Post edited by raindog on

Replies to: Non-traditional student

  • hacker4lifehacker4life Registered User Posts: 132 Junior Member
    Wow, first of all, let me say Congratulations for coming so far already. I know a few adults about ten years older, both of them struggling just to get their GEDs in order to get accepted into community colleges. Like you said though, you're 30 years old, perhaps it's a good opportunity for you to start a new career. You didn't mention what field you are currently involved in, but some of the fields you're interested in seem like solid careers. I'm going to USF for their computer science program. It might be a great experience for you to go to HCC and have those interesting conversations, but I don't think that can last forever. Perhaps it's time to move on and take up on this great opportunity for a new career.
  • rtjdllortjdllo Registered User Posts: 1 New Member
    I'm in a similar situation as you. It's great to be honest with yourself & others. I'm turning 30 and going to HCC but don't really get assurance from the advising office that the courses I take are putting me on the right path. So you are almost done and it's time to declare a major. The first thing as you already know is to determine what your most interested in. Hopefully you've taken some career assesments and gone over to the career center on campus to take advantage of some of these for free. Those who seek out will find what they want. I found some wonderful resources at the Library, books such as "Personality Plus" & "Do What You Are" are a good start. Take the Myers Briggs personality assesment. Also "Dewey Color System" is an interesting way of determining your highest interests. And google the "HOlland, RIASEC" free assesment online. Then once you've selected your primary area of interest, and the work environment suited best for you. Then go to ONETonline.org and put the curser hand over advanced search, then under browse by select: interests. You will see the 6 Preferences For Work Environments. The "Holland Code" Assesment will help you ensure you know which ONE is the most interesting work evironment for you. If on the Holland Code you are Artistic then check Artistic on the ONET interests and you will see all the careers in that environment and the education required. You will see on the top of the page stating: "Have a three-letter interest code?" The most important thing is that you ensure your 1st choice matches the first choice on the Interest Code. I.E. if you are most Artistic then as long as your interst code begins with A then you will be well suited for that job. So when you find a career listed you actually LIKE then simply match it to an education program offered by a major for that field area at USF. You need to ENSURE you select a major as soon as possible and do not change it in order to avoid the pitfal I had. Which was changing majors and taking extra credit hours that don't apply to my major and program. Because Florida Universities charge EXCESS HOURS SURCHARGE when you have gone over the credit hours needed for the program. Best of luck on your journey, enjoy it. Honestly if you read all that and got here the best I can say is be true to your higher inner self, it can direct you better than anyone else! As well as telling you if school is the direction for you. Meditation can help you hear the inner voice.
  • lizardlizard Registered User Posts: 3,410 Senior Member
    USF has room for non-traditional and older students. When I graduated in May, a 71 year old lady received a doctor's degree in nursing!

    My favorite non-traditional student at USF right now is a recent transfer to USF who is from Russia--he was a professional sumo wrestler in Japan and he just joined USF's football team as a walk-on. Yes, Russian sumo wrestler on USF football team | University of South Florida Bulls blog: USF Sports Bulletin | Tampa Bay Times

    Too, USF has success stories such as a student who came back and shined in the classroom after flunking out years ago as a student. He turned himself around is now beginning graduate studies at Columbia University. Fine Achievement - University of South Florida

    Non-traditional students can thrive and be successful at USF!
  • MyAdvisorSaysMyAdvisorSays Registered User Posts: 53 Junior Member
    In shopping for majors, I would suggest checking out the class schedule search online and seeing what classes catch your eye. In looking at those subjects and the department's that offer them, you might stumble upon something new that you never knew you would love. Also definitely take advantage of the career center's aptitude and personality inventories and tests. The more you know about yourself the easier it is to find a path that fits. :)
    Also most department's advisors will meet with students before they are admitted to USF, so you can get an idea of their majors and programs. Its extra helpful if you bring along an unofficial copy of your transcripts for the meeting.
    Good luck!
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