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How this adult learner found the confidence to return to the classroom

How this adult learner found the confidence to return to the classroom

It’s completely normal for an adult learner to have self-doubt when they’re thinking about going back to school. Whether the reason for a return is finishing your degree or obtaining a professional certificate, getting started can feel daunting. But there are ways to beat the overwhelm and self-doubt. This CityU of Seattle Master’s student shares her experience about how she found the confidence to go back (and finish) her degree.

See the interview below between Britney Taylor, CityU Content Specialist, and Stevie Minder.

Finding support

Britney: So what were you studying here at CityU?

Stevie: So I am in the Master’s of Adult Education and Instructional Design program, hopefully finishing the capstone in summer. The instructors have been amazing. They’ve been very accommodating with me when I had life events come up and couldn’t meet deadlines. They were able to work with me and give me extensions as needed.

Dr. Rankin has been a very accommodating program director. We had a few appointments and we chatted about what my goals were with the program and what I wanted to do. He was super supportive and gave really good feedback to help get me there.

Britney: What was the driving factor at the time that you started looking for programs?

Stevie: Yeah, knowing that CityU primarily works with working adults and that’s what I am as an employee. I knew that they would be understanding of my circumstances and willing to work with me on certain aspects, whether it be like when I was going through a divorce, my instructor offered to let me take an extra week or two for my final project.

Britney: Sure.

Stevie: Also, my Academic Advisor, Barb Bulger, has been amazing. She will check in with me ever so often and send me helpful study tips. And if I have questions about like scheduling, she’s always there, or even if I’m just stressed out with trying to balance work and school she’s always just willing to just chat with me and kind of walk me through it. So that’s been really helpful as well.


Finding confidence

Britney: Did you have any feelings? Even working here and knowing the level of support that you would have throughout the process and knowing your goals with entering the program, did you have any fear or doubt? Did you delay that decision for any amount of time?

Stevie: Yeah, I was definitely concerned that I wouldn’t have the time to balance work and school, and just, you know, personal life, family life.

I put it off for quite some time – just because you know it is scary. It’s a big step, especially, you know, master’s level and just being concerned that I wouldn’t be able to keep up with the workload.

But my Enrollment Advisor, Melissa Myers, was great. She worked with me to transfer in credits from another degree that I have to help expedite the process. So going into it, knowing that I have two less classes, gave me good motivation to take the first step and to finish up my degree.

Britney: Okay, after you started, when did that boost of confidence come in where you said to yourself, “I think I can manage that”?

Stevie: Just to be honest, like going into class the first week and looking at the syllabus can be super overwhelming, especially learning how to navigate a new system like using Brightspace for the first time. So having the orientation was helpful to be able to learn the navigation process to take that off my plate.

And then yeah, I was really hesitant about APA because my last school used a different format, and it was close to five years since the last time I took a class. But the librarians have been great, like the Ask a Librarian feature on the website. I’ve used that so many times, just being like “Hi, this is Stevie. How do I cite a YouTube video?” And they would break it down and provide me with templates.

Honestly, once you get past the first week things start to click. Just getting past that initial shock of, ‘Oh my gosh, I’m adding all these assignments to my planner.’ It looks like a lot to do, but then setting aside certain times to work on school work and just  finding your own groove makes it a lot more manageable.


Final advice

Britney: What’s one thing or one piece of advice that you would give someone or that you do give someone who’s doubting themselves? What’s one piece of advice that you have for them?

Stevie: Just getting started is the hardest part. It’s a lot of like the fear, the anxiety of the unknown. And then once you take that initial leap, you just make it work and you figure it out and you, you know, you find what works best for you.

It’s just taking that plunge and knowing that you’re going into it scared. One thing I do tell my students is that it’s normal to be scared or to have anxiety. That means that you actually care about what you’re doing.


Next steps

If you’re thinking about returning to college to finish your degree as an adult learner? Know that the first step is the hardest. CityU of Seattle has the support and resources to get you to the finish line – graduation. 

Get in touch with an Advisor to learn more today!

Published June 10, 2024