/Living Life Full-Time

Living Life Full-Time

Growing up is not optional


Burning the candle at both ends without getting burned. By Jennifer Gibson

The demographics of the students at a community college are a vast assortment. I immediately noticed how diverse each of my classes were and how the diversity of the mentality of those in my classes matched.

At the age of 39, I started classes at SC4 this fall. In addition to my 11 credit hours, I work full-time, and am a single mother to three children.

I was amused while listening to the younger students discuss how they managed working part-time whilst taking full-time classes. This sent a cheeky grin across my face and a single thought to my mind, “Seriously?”

Mentality is the difference.

For many younger students, college is their first taste of freedom. For these students, college can often be seen as an expectation set by family or peers.

But for the older students, college is a must.

There comes a time in life when no matter the amount of experience one possesses, employers want the degree to match.

I should elaborate – employers offering positions other than an assembly line, cash register, or a mail room. The older student is in need of a career, not a “Just Over Broke” (JOB) life.

Oftentimes the older student who has a full-time job and family to care for does not view going to class or completing assignments as an option, more so as a responsibility and requirement.

The age has been reached where one realizes in order to survive successfully in life a commitment to excellence is key.

This is not to say there are not disappointments and failures, rather, when these things happen, the effort given was above and beyond mediocre.

Mark McIntyre, a 39 years old SC4 student taking 14 credit hours, said, “Some of the students are old enough to be my daughters or sons and their mannerisms show it. The nice thing I have noticed is the majority of the teen or early twenty students are not childish, don’t behave in a lousy fashion and they are actually enjoying themselves.  The students I have had to work with try to get by with the least they can, instead of striving to excel.  There is money involved with education now, they should be more aware and in tune with what is going on with their education.”

Pat Cruickshank, a 43-year-old United Parcel Service driver, took classes at SC4 right out of high school from 1988-1990. Regarding his return to SC4, Cruickshank said: “For me, I take school more seriously than I did when I was right out of high school. I have received all A’s since I have been back and a lot has to do with amount of studying I am able to put forth and the professors are always able to help with any request I have ever had.”

One thing I am certain of, college has been a great experience being in classes with such an assorted group of people.

The younger students have taken me back to the way I was at that age, and the older students have provide me with a sense of belonging.

I enjoy the point of view from the younger generations and the experience of the older students. I have been blessed to share the classroom with fantastic instructors, as well as entertaining fellow students.


Jennifer Gibson

Staff Writer


Contact Jennifer at justjennee@gmail.com