Despite feeling old, editor seeks higher education

Being five years removed from high school makes me feel old, especially because a lot of my friends have bachelor's degrees or are on the verge of getting them, and I'm still lingering around my hometown community college.
However, I don't feel shamed by my tortoise-like race to the real world, partially, because if there were ever a place in the world to do it, it's Wyoming. You cannot really argue when you can spend years in college and your total college education doesn't surpass the cost of a single semester at a private or out-of-state college.

But also, I have the opportunity to explore my options more so than a lot of students. When I graduated from high school, I didn't really know what I wanted to do, so I just took courses that sounded interesting while trying to follow the curriculum dictated for whichever major I was pursuing at any given moment.

Today, I'm doing more or less the same, though I'm set on a career path now and am picking up some experience in writing and editing. And despite being chronically stressed by the daily grind of trying to create a publication that lives up to standards of past award-winning editors and writers, I am still curious enough or masochistic enough to take courses I don't really need just because they sound interesting to me.

Sadly, I think a lot of people would consider this a misguided decision, but it's what I want to do with my time, even if the extra work causes me to bald prematurely and die because of stress related complications when my body decides it's lost its will to live and my mind didn't want to lose its will to learn.
And I'm OK with that.

If I'm not already a nontraditional student, I'm well on my way, and maybe the youngins will look to me as a venerable figure, and my professors will admire my unconquerable spirit to achieve my goals and enrich myself despite the norms and youthful whippersnappers with whom I've grown out of touch.

I'm very much all right with the role of a nontraditional student. Who is anyone to judge an individual who wants to learn? Well, for starters, they are jerks. Wanting to learn is a noble cause if there ever was one. To assume college is a place for only fresh-out-of-high-school faces is pretty arrogant, and to make older students feel out of place should be criminal.
I have unconditional respect for all nontraditional students. At age 23, I feel out of place in a classroom of 18-year-olds, but fortunately for me, often someone in a similar position is there to hang out with.

The nursing program seems to be one of the fields where nontraditional students deserve a lot of respect. I took a course to learn to become a certified nurse's assistant, and quite a few older students took the course with me. And older students almost always seem to be some of the best students in the course because they don't let distractions outside the classroom bother them, and they just seem to care a lot more than some other students.

The CNA course requires a lot of effort, especially when clinicals come around. The challenging prerequisites and competition make the nursing program one of the most challenging of all programs at LCCC. Yet many nontraditional students seem to excel in whatever courses and programs they enter. And I think that's really admirable.

I suppose it's all relative whether anyone should feel out of place at college because education is a personal endeavor, and even though there are curriculums to follow, ultimately, it's up to each individual student to decide how he wants to go about his time in college. And this was not to say more traditional students don't have the same ambition or determination as nontraditional students, but I believe anyone pursuing the enrichment of education is one of the greatest feats any person can strive for regardless of age or life situation. So to anyone whoever feels out of place or takes a few detours in his pursuit of their own individual goals, I have unyielding respect.

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