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Re-entry students prove it’s never too late to grow

Azi Carter

Azi Carter


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“Opportunity knocks once, sometimes it knocks again, this time I answered it,” said, Los Medanos College re-entry student Linda Young.  With her broad, contagious smile she went on to say, “I’m living my best life.  Academia fulfills me because I just love to be challenged.” 

Young gets up early, having to commute to LMC from Fresno twice a week. But she said she doesn’t mind because the effort brings her closer to her goals.  She is majoring in Criminal Justice and Psychology and plans to transfer to CSU Fresno in the fall of 2018.

After researching transfer possibilities, school was the primary reason for her move to Fresno. After rearing her four children, “three boys and one-girl ages 27 – 41,” Young said, “It is my time to shine and I am definitely enjoying my journey.”

An age epiphany was the greatest motivator for Admissions and Records Director Robin Armour, who decided at age 40 to return to school for an AA degree, that eventually led to a bachelor’s and a master’s degree.

“I realized one day, I didn’t have that piece of paper, knowing then it would make all the difference in my world,” she said.  “So I undertook the challenge and never regretted a single moment of the process.” “I got my AA from Lake Tahoe Community College in Computer Science, Bachelors in Business Administration at National University, and my Master of Science Instructional Technology also at National University, “ she said.

Armour now finds herself welcoming those considering returning to school and possibly making LMC their choice.

“The re-entry student is more focused, demonstrating the drive and ambition, key elements for success. They are so willing to do whatever it takes to succeed and they don’t waste time,” she said.           

Armour spoke candidly about her own experiences as a student and remembered what it was like.

“It’s never too late to fulfill your goals.” She said.  “It makes you feel good about yourself, and especially knowing that returning to school is for you.” 

Returning to school is a major decision for the working adult who has been out

of school for more than 10 years, especially for those with family and rearing children. Recovering from an illness that left her incapacitated was the motivating factor for Jules Means who suffered a debilitating stroke that left her needing to learn to walk again. Having given up on life with all her dreams seemingly shattered. LMC opened its arms to her as a re-entry student and Means hasn’t looked back.

“My ultimate goal is to be able to provide for my family, not only financially, but as a role model,” she said. “I realized my life wasn’t over after my stroke, merely that I was moving in a new direction.” 

Her four adult sons have been her biggest motivators and since being a student at LMC she has earned a 3.9 GPA and plans to transfer to UC Berkeley or U.C. Davis as a psychology major.       

Going back to school means a lot of challenges for students, whether just out of high school or as a re-entry student. Learning to adjust school, work and family is an acquired skill. The re-entry student at LMC has the support of staff, counselors and advisers to direct them and provide assistance.

“All my professors bend over backwards to help me if I go to them and ask,” said Young, “My relationships with staff and programs like EOPS, DSPS, and the Financial Aid staff have all played an integral part of my success as a student here.” 

She explained, “EOPS assisted with her books and parking, and DSPS provided visual and audio modalities to assist with her disabilities.

AlthoughYoung found Student Services to help her, she would like to see student activities geared toward the re-entry students.

“It would be nice to have an over-50 club where the more mature student would have a club of their own,” she said.

Older students often find themselves in the role of parent to the younger students on campus,Young said there have been times when she had to help a student resolve personal problems, which she said was easy since she has four children of her own. But, she admitted there have been times she has been disrespected.

“Showing respect is one of the values I have instilled in my children and when I am disrespected it is a hard pill to swallow,” said Young. 

Developing good coping skills toward the younger millennia has been a challenge for some re-entry students. Watching students coming in late to class or being on their cell phones in class are many of the pet peeves.

“I want to be a role model for the younger student,” said Young.  “While I wasn’t attending college, I was dealing with life on life’s terms, which taught me to value my education. I get to class on time, making a habit of being attentive and interacting with both my professors and classmates.”

Means knows from growing up in the 50’s with a family of nine that education is what you need to elevate your life and brighten your future. She learned some hard lessons growing up where education was not emphasized. Her victories in life overcoming challenges is what makes her an advocate for higher education and a mentor for others as she volunteers at a homeless shelter for women in Brentwood.

“Forty was the magic age for me,” said Armour. I know how difficult it is and I always look for the re-entry student, I’m tuned in to them and can see how nervous they are and I want to encourage them because I know personally what it feels like being a re-entry student.” LMC extends its arm to welcome and support them.

Lifelong learning is a buzzword in academia and these women are examples of the success re-entry students can find. LMC welcomes re-entry students to challenge themselves and work toward their dreams in a comfortable learning environment.

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