Monday, January 11, 2016

Inspired by a student

My day job is obviously not that of a professional blogger. Instead, while I wait for the media world to recognize my prodigious exaggerations of my great talent, I work as an academic advisor for an access college. What that means officially is that we offer primarily Associates degrees and serve to provide a pathway to a Bachelors degree. Some come for the lower tuition. Others for the small class sizes and small campus. Others are there because they couldn't get in to their first choice.

While I typically end up seeing a lot of 18-20 year old students, every so often a non-traditional student comes in to my office and I enjoy the opportunity to speak with those students. Last week, one such student came in.

It was a Friday afternoon when this particular student,a 26-year old mother of two, came in. She'd been out of school since finishing high school and had been looking for a way to start back to college. We'd actually just had our last orientation of before classes started the day before, but we're a small school and rarely, if ever, do we turn anyone away if they meet our eligibility requirements. So she was admitted and then came to my office to sign up for classes.

It was while we were making small talk that she told me about her two kids. They'd been keeping her busy, so busy in fact that she missed the deadline to sign up for orientation. When she found out she could come that Friday, she almost didn't. But, she said, she looked at her kids and realized she needed them to see their mother going to school to do better for herself.

 So she came and we got her signed up for classes that fit her availability, which was pretty much when her kids were in school or daycare. She was excited and thanked me as she left.

Students like her inspire me. I realize I was fortunate to not only do well in high school, but have the opportunity to go to college right out of high school. Not everyone has that chance and it's easy to just think you're too busy or too old or any other reason not to go back to school. But this woman didn't and I admire her for creating an opportunity for herself.

My favorite stories since the last time I posted.

The Cost of Overconfidence - From mail-in rebates to gym memberships, we all overestimate our own willpower. Companies know this and profit from it.

"Doubly Absurd": On Teaching College Athletes - A look at one teacher's experience dealing with college athletes. Spoiler Alert: He didn't like it.

Would He Disapprove of my Heathen Lifestyle: me and my Syrian refugee lodger - One of my favorite stories this year. A woman takes in a Syrian refugee and writes about it... and the second half of the article is the refugee writing about his experience living with a British woman.

Remembering Guantanamo - A journalist recounts his six years as a captive at Guantanamo Bay.

How We Learn Fairness - We all know when things aren't fair, but how do we learn that? Is it innate?

As always, thanks for reading.

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