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The Blue & Gray Press | December 17, 2017

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Non-traditional students desire more recognition on campus

Non-traditional students desire more recognition on campus

By REBECA MURPHY

Everyone has their own unique college experience, but being a non-traditional student can create a negative experience. Some students are transfers, commuters, full-time career- building family providers – some are like me: a 23 years old, newly married, transfer, commuter, and full-time student. That’s a lot to handle sometimes.

I don’t feel that UMW accommodates the non-traditional student as well as they could. It’s not that we should get special treatment, but I expect us to be understood and acknowledged.

UMW used to provide commuter-only parking, however, that changed at the beginning of this school year. I find it frustrating that I have to allot extra time in addition to my commute to find parking on campus. If I’m running late due to the horrific traffic, forget trying to parallel park on College Avenue. Depending on the time of day, there’s little chance there’s a free spot at Pizza Hut, and depending where I have class, I either hike from the parking garage or from the parking lot by the University Apartments.

I’m confident there’s a free space somewhere on campus, but spending 15 to 20 minutes trying to find it can be aggravating, especially if I see the same resident parked closest to my classes five days in a row. UMW should offer commuter-only parking again.

Another category some may fall under is transfer students. No one seems to care that you’re a transfer. When you have questions, answers are never consistent. UMW is my third school since beginning my college career. When I decided to transfer to UMW, I was lost, uneducated on procedures and expectations and frustrated with not receiving the help I needed.

Knowing UMW would be my last stop before completing my Bachelor’s degree, I tried to get involved in campus activities. I joined the track team, tried to make friends in my classes and expressed interests in clubs. However, my life situation continued to get in the way.

These are just some of the struggles non-traditional students deal with. At the end of the day, we’re at UMW to go to school. Being class president or the star athlete may not be an option for a non-traditional student.

Students such as transfers and commuters, probably spend the least amount of time on campus. Why wouldn’t the school make sure that short amount of time is influential? I’m confident that I’m not the only one with these struggles, but it would make life easier if UMW acknowledged people such as us non-traditional students, making our experience at UMW more positive so we feel wanted and inclined to give back once we graduate. I don’t feel I have an emotional attachment to UMW, because I haven’t had a fantastic experience.