After a long time away from education, people can feel anxious about going back to school. What about the new technology? Will I be out of place? What if I’ve forgotten how to study/write papers/etc.?

In my final blog of college tips, I asked HBU faculty and staff what advice they had for someone who was returning to school after a long time away. Dr. Lisa Ellis, from our College of Science and Mathematics, provided an insightful observation, “Age is irrelevant in a classroom; those who succeed have the desire to learn and the willingness to do so.” Dr. Ellis is right, and I hope her words as well as the advice provided below will encourage current students and those who are considering a return to school.

Remember you have lots of cheerleaders.

Just do it! Pray – have confidence! Don’t underestimate your ability or will to succeed. – Dr. Lesli Fridge, College of Education and Behavioral Sciences 

You can do this. No, those freshmen are not smarter than you. No, your brain is not moldy. You have life experiences that will serve you well as you come back to the classroom. – Dr. Vickey Giles, College of Education and Behavioral Sciences

Start with a small course load.

Start off with a relatively light load to get back into the swing of things. – Dr. Avin Brownlee, College of Science and Mathematics

I have found it beneficial for many students to take a slow start back into the classroom. It helps them get organized and develop routines that will help them be successful. The university offers many resources for you as you get back into the school routine. – Dr. Dawn Wilson, College of Education and Behavioral Sciences

Don’t underestimate the value of your maturity and wisdom.

You’re smarter now. Just remember that. – Dr. Anthony Joseph, School of Humanities

You have gathered experience and knowledge that you can use to your advantage. You have learned to juggle schedules and make decisions. You know what is important and what is just “noise.” The classroom is a new job and you have the skill set to do well. – Dr. Jackie Horn, College of Science and Mathematics

Your added maturity and pragmatic wisdom will help you more than you realize. – Dr. Brenda Whaley, College of Science and Mathematics

Be assured that the wisdom you bring to HBU will be appreciated by your professors and classmates. Your personal and professional endeavors have provided you valuable insights that others may not yet have acquired. The experience you bring will enhance your learning process as well as the learning process of those journeying alongside you. – Dr. Katie Alaniz, College of Education and Behavioral Sciences

Don’t be afraid. The youngsters don’t have any idea what’s going on either. – Dr. Collin Garbarino, School of Humanities

Give yourself some grace.

Be patient with yourself. If you make rookie mistakes at first, learn from them and move on. – Dr. Brenda Whaley

Welcome back! Know that it is possible to succeed, and if it takes you a little longer to get into a rhythm or to make something “click,” don’t shy away — go in head first. – Mon’Sher Spencer, Student Life

Be flexible.

Be prepared for the new and constantly changing technology demands. Be open to new teaching styles. – Dr. Taiya Fabre, College of Science and Mathematics

Don’t be afraid to ask questions and to admit the things you don’t know…. like use of technology or online classwork or Blackboard, etc. – Dr. Lesli Fridge

Don’t be afraid to ask questions and ask for help. – Mon’Sher Spencer

You’ll need to set some important priorities related to worship, family, friends, work, and studying since you might have more responsibilities than your younger classmates. – Dr. Kaye Busiek, College of Education and Behavioral Sciences

Fear of returning is much more intimidating than the actual content itself. Prepare your home office and work schedule in advance, save up funds so you minimize extra work hours, and go for it! Once you start, you’ll most likely be glad you did. – Susan Priest, School of Nursing and Allied Health

Connect with your professors and fellow students.

Don’t feel like you can’t ask for help.  We all face challenges for which we need help, and your questions demonstrate to your professors how committed you are to academic excellence. – Dr. Kaye Busiek

Professors are always rooting for the non-traditional student who is coming back to earn or complete a degree. In many ways, it’s easier for professors and these students to connect and relate as adults. The professors are always more than willing to help these adult students transition back, so I encourage them to go by and meet their professors and get to know them in person. – Dr. Christopher Hammons, School of Humanities

Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Your professors know that it can sometimes be difficult and new. – Dr. Russell Hemati, School of Humanities

Engage your professors and ask any questions you have regarding studying or the course material. Be honest about where you are and allow them to speak into you about what would make you a successful student. – Samantha Bottoms, Academic Success Center

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Blog edited by Joannah Buffington

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