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A New Role for a New/Old Student

The reality is, I am much older than my classmates. In fact, some may say someone’s mother came to class today; the truth is – she did. My journey has led me to return to college after a thirty-year hiatus. After completed my Associate in Arts degree, I applied to a few colleges, one of them being Rollins College. Rollins offered me the opportunity to design a degree within a liberal arts curriculum that would give me the platform to do what I have been doing previously – promote the arts.

Promoting the arts has been my passion since my involvement at a young age. Life has given me the occasions to experience the arts as a participant, volunteer, and supporter.  Rollins is now giving me the tools to further my endeavors through its classes, professors, and community.

My first encounter with a professor was to inquire about the self-design degree. Dr. John Sinclair, head of the Music Department, agreed to speak with me about my plans for the proposed degree.  We meet in the summer before the semester even began and he listened to the story of my journey and how I came to Rollins. His assistant sat in on the meeting and shared her personal experience at Rollins as a non-traditional student.  Our conversation included the pros and cons of designing a degree, working through the process; engaging professors to work with me on my proposal, and potential senior projects that are a requirement for the degree. As I listened to their advice, I became excited about my time ahead at Rollins and what I have to look forward to in my journey. Their encouragement throughout the discussion showed me that my time at Rollins would not be a solo flight, but an expedition complete with a navigation team to help guide me.

After meeting with Dr. Sinclair, I took a look at the notes I had written during our time together and began to formulate a plan for designing and completing my degree. I made a list of the departments I was interested in and the people I would need to connect with about my proposed degree. As I began to communicate with professors from the various departments, it was obvious they wanted to hear my ideas and help in any way they could. Their experience and advice were delivered with the intention of equipping a student with the tools not only for the immediate gratification but also for success in a career and life.

My proposal is still being written and I continue to seek advice during my time at Rollins and for the future. Guidance has continued through a variety of professors, some through their coursework and others outside of the classroom. My goal is to secure approval for my self-designed degree and complete it in the two years I have remaining at Rollins. I would like to be thought of as a student who desires excellence in all things. This will be an attainable goal for a mom studying at an excellent school.