Nontraditional Students

Returning to School:

When we add “college student” to our already long list of roles, which often include employee, partner, and parent, the transition can be surprisingly trying. The expectations placed on a student are different than the expectations we experience in our other walks of life. This means that at the same time we are learning our coursework, we have to learn to adjust to life as a student again.

Why Are Transitions So Difficult?


The excitement of returning to school may carry us through the first few days or weeks of classes. Sooner or later, we can start to feel some of the burdens of wearing multiple hats. Learning how to switch roles is essential for success as a student. Here are some signs that you are struggling with transitioning to your new role as a student:

  • Difficulty finding time to study
  • Trouble balancing all of your responsibilities
  • Feeling like the “oldest person on campus”
  • Not finding the services you need
  • Getting thoroughly frustrated with little things (like finding a parking space)
  • Experiencing the feeling that you will never complete your degree
  • Feeling like “throwing in the towel”

(Adapted from UW Oshkosh)

External Resources:

  • Back to School
  • National Center for Educational Statistics


Campus Resources:

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