The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

Adults attend college, fulfill goals

By Michael Wilson/reporter

SE Campus student Jacqueline Fort returned to college later in life because she had three goals for herself.

“I want to drive trucks by obtaining my CDL [commercial] license, become a certified medication aide and receive a degree in culinary arts,” she said. 

Fort has already accomplished the first two goals and said she is excited about her journey in completing her third.

She is not alone. Many students at TCC as well as around the country are over traditional age but making the most of their opportunity.

Prior to beginning on SE last fall, Fort last graced a college campus in 2004. She appreciates the support her advisors give her as they strategically prepare her for a degree plan with a straight pathway for success. She dreams of opening her own business, where she will focus on the nutritional side of cooking.

Maria Valencia, a first-time college student, is a prime example of a nontraditional student. She not only works full time but is also a full-time mother and wife.

While she is currently undecided on her degree, she said she is determined to obtain one.

Enrolled in history and College Algebra in the spring, she said the semester started out good, but at times, she became a little disappointed. She even panicked about taking tests, but her support team at home quickly reinforced her mindset.

Valencia’s sons and husband motivate and support her 100 percent in her endeavor. She admits that the balance of family, work and school sometimes gets overwhelming. But when that occurs, she reminds herself of her motto.

“If I’m going to take a class, I’m going to finish it, pass it and not quit,” she said. “I want to ultimately become a teacher if I still have time.”

Another SE nontraditional student, Jernechia Myers, relocated from Southeast Texas to pursue a new life in Tarrant County.

“I need an education in order to reach my ultimate goal of receiving an associate degree in criminal justice,” she said. 

Myers said she knows that her journey “will be difficult and overwhelming,” but with hard work, she’s confident she will one day become a probation officer.

Adults return to college or go for the first time for many reasons. Many want to change careers. Others, like Fort, are fulfilling long-term goals. 

“This was something that I’ve always wanted to accomplish,” she said. 

So for some, it is part of their path for personal growth and development. Many adult students chose TCC because of the close proximity from their homes, the comfort of small class interaction and the extensive degree plan options the college offers. 

Grants and scholarships have also helped increase the enrollment of adults returning to college. Many adults said it’s an investment that continues to pay throughout life. 

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