Jeff Sheldon

JRNM 151

Submitted photo Jeff Sheldon is a nontraditional student at LCCC

Submitted photoJeff Sheldon is a nontraditional student at LCCC

I took a deep breath and then released the air out slowly as the adviser called my name. This walk to her desk was exciting and filled with uncertainty, but I knew this is something I wanted to try.

Coming back to LCCC after 20 years, I was ready and so was the adviser. She helped me from top to bottom laying out suggestions that made complete sense, along with the ideas about what I wanted to take in college. We chipped away at the school’s curriculum like a couple of wood carvers shaping and shredding away until project was done and now I’m registered and ready for classes to begin.

Roughly around the years of 2007 and 2008 my employers were full of whispers and sad smiles whenever we spoke, and a few of them confided in me that they were losing money and orders in the tire ingredient world were dwindling. That was code to me that layoffs were soon to come. In the back of my mind I knew I should travel up to the college on Abbe Rd. sooner rather than later. But it has been since 1988 that I even had a classroom experience. I wondered; “Would I be able to thrive?”

The first day of classes came and I could still feel a bit of trepidation of a 40-something year-old student. I was prepared to walked in the classroom full of 18 to 20-year olds just staring at me wondering if I lost my way or if I was their instructor. But why would I be moving to sit in the middle of the classroom? None of that could have been further from the truth. I walked in the door and I was treated to a vibe of business as usual and one young student saying “Hey man, how’s it going?” A simple acknowledgement like this put me at ease and made me think that everything was going to be fine. This sentiment carried over to the instructors, as well. The school work was a warm greeting, also. From the syllabus, to the tutoring, and helpful emails from the instructors. The chance to do well in the classroom has many well-lit avenues to explore if one really wants to. It sounds a bit corny to say, but it’s been fun even if I know this is just the beginning.

If you would have told me 10 years ago that I would be building friendships, learning new skills, and enriching my mind through further education at LCCC, I would have tilted my head slightly to the left while curling my upper lip as if to say “No way friend! I’m a too old for that.”

This has been one of the best life changing journeys I’ve embarked on. The helpful staff, the friendly faces of the more traditional students – the path to a better me is paved with people on that same journey. I’m very fortunate to attend a college steeped in such diversity and cultures. It makes me feel proud of myself and LCCC.