"I look at every class as 'this is the class I need to graduate.'"
This is the mindset David Fleming, 28, has as he begins his freshman year at UW-Whitewater as a non-traditional student. Fleming, originally from Huffman, Texas, moved to Whitewater in July 2011 with hopes of going to school at UW-Whitewater to play on the wheelchair basketball team.
After watching her children grow up and move away, Nan found herself looking for the next step in her life. After being suprised with an acceptance letter from the University of Wisconsin-Rock County, Nan found herself battling between working to pay her mortgage and other bills as well as her tuition to fight for what she wanted more than anything...to become a teacher.
James "Jim" Hermanson was one of 1,200 workers laid off in 2009 at the General Motors Co. plant in Janesville, Wis., as an absentee replacement worker. It was a "devastating blow" Jim said, who had been employed by the company for 15 years. While working for GM, one of Hermanson's jobs was the observation of how employees endure monotonous assembly line work, which fueled Hermanson's interest in the safety and health of workers.
Her alarm goes off at 5:30 a.m., giving her just two hours to feed and let out the dog, prepare breakfast for her family, get class materials together, pack a lunch, put gas in her SUV, and drive the 45-minute commute to UW-Whitewater. By the time her first class starts, she has been awake and busy for four hours.
This is a typical morning for Rochelle Day, a non-traditional student.
"If things were different in the past I wouldn't be where I am today, and I like where I am today." These are the words of Kurtis Reilly, a man who has served his country before making the decision to go back to school.
"I can't say that I always wanted to be a Marine, but I have always liked learning about military history," Reilly said. "When I was 18, I came home one night and told my mom that I was going to enlist in the Marines."
From high school to the military, sophomore Ryan Lonergan has done more than most.
Lonergan, 25, graduated from Waterford Union High School in 2006, and upon graduation, joined the military.
Sandra went back to school after enduring a difficult divorce and a devastating job loss. After learning that she had developed cancer, she wondered how she would continue her her education at UW-Whitewater. Instead of allowing it to stop her education, she continued going to school full time (she was able to successfully maintain a 4.0 grade point average) and she used her experiences in her classes.
Non-traditional student, Kimberly “Kim” Bauer-Hillison, is single and without children, but is still considered different from the 800 other non-traditional students at UW-Whitewater. At the age of 25, she isn’t exempt from the challenges her older demographic faces. She is working toward a degree in finance with an emphasis in financial planning.
"If riding in an airplane is flying, then riding in a boat is swimming. If you want to experience the element, then get out of the vehicle." This is the email signature of Kayla De Priest, a 28-year-old non-traditional student who jumps out of planes for fun. Prior to attending college, she worked several jobs. After being involved in an accident where she totaled her car, Kayla's life changed dramatically.The accident, a result of texting while driving, prompted her to make a life-changing decision.
When Cory Tracy isn't in class, he is tutoring other students or riding his unicycle around campus. Tracy, who tutors math students at the Academic Support Center in McCutchen Hall, said his love of math is a new interest for him. At 30, Tracy has worked numerous jobs, including driving a truck for eight years, and maintaining a golf course. Tracy is involved in several campus organizations including Student Math Association, Golden Key, and has recently accepted the position of president of the Adult Student Connections organization.