134: How Late is Too Late?

Is starting college 7 years after high school the right thing to do? Well, James Stukes sure did, and he’s here to show you how best to do so successfully. If you’re feeling anxious about starting college in your 20’s, the ‘what ifs’ and feelings of insecurity might give you sleepless nights, but guess what! It’s doable, and you’re not alone.  

The Motivation to Go Back To School. – 04:55

Whether you’re 21, 26, or beyond, it’s never too late to give college a try. But, imagine leaving an assured paycheck and joining the pool of 18-year-old freshmen, all trying to make it in the demanding world that is campus life. That’s gotta be tough, right? But here’s the thing; if by any chance you get an opportunity to get into college, go for it. It may require you to make sacrifices, but trust me, all that will be worth it. 

Transitioning From Being Employed To Being a Student. – 07:28

Starting college later in life is an entirely different experience to enrolling immediately after high school. Starting is easy, though; losing that paycheck, taking care of your family (if you have one), and adjusting to the demands of campus life will surely need total commitment. So, don’t rush, make sure you’re ready and once you start, stay committed the entire time you’re in school.

Figuring out The next Step. – 09:11

When choosing what you’d like to pursue on campus, you choose a path that you’ll most likely become an expert in. Choosing is usually a very tricky thing for an adult learner; the fact that you’re older and can’t afford to change course midway makes it even more crucial to make the right decision. 

Lessons Learned in the Adult Learning Journey. – 12:00

As an adult learner, you are bound to face a unique set of struggles. Most people assume that as an older individual, you can deal with your student struggles better than the other students. That’s where they go wrong! You’ll work just like everybody else, and you’ll need to deal with your struggles just like everybody else. Whether it’s your work-school balance or your personal issues, the best advice I’d give you is that you must face all of them head-on.

Why You Need To Have Mentors. – 13:35

From helping you avoid making academic mistakes to fostering life-long relationships, a mentor will guide you in every step of your college journey. As an adult learner, you might think that asking for help or advice is a sign of weakness. However, the reality is that, while you might be the best at riding solo, a mentor will expand your vision and lead you to greater heights. Just remember, you can’t do it alone.

The Things You Need To Develop Yourself. – 15:39

The key to realizing your true potential is in learning how short your productive life is. You’ll often find yourself doing things that won’t get you any closer to your goals or your potential. Once you endeavor to continuously explore your willpower, you will be astonished by the things you’ll be able to achieve. Redefine yourself, attend those seminars, get out of your comfort zone, be open to criticism, and you’ll be surprised at how much you’ll grow just by changing your mindset.

Tips To Someone Pursuing a Masters or a Doctorate. -17:19

Throughout your learning journey, you’ll always be evolving, learning, and experimenting; that’s how to improve yourself and realize your ambitions and goals. But, mental barriers will always be there, and how you deal with them will determine whether your academic journey is a success or not. With that in mind, find yourself a robust support system and eliminate those mental barriers preventing you from becoming the scholar you are meant to be.

Research on First-Gen Low-Income Students. – 19:40

First-gens are usually under pressure from families and life in general to be the best at what they do, and being a low-income student doesn’t help one bit. Research on first-gen low-income students is aimed at promoting identity exploration, empowerment, and building a community. As a first-gen, success goes beyond being successful in class. You’ll need to develop meaningful relationships, know what you bring to the table and learn everything you can from experienced first-gens. 

James Stukes is a native of Sumter, SC who as a first-generation college student and adult learner earned his bachelor’s degree in 2010, his master’s degree in 2013, and scheduled to complete his doctoral requirements fall 2020.  James is an active member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc.  All of James’ work experiences spanning from being a machine operator for a tool manufacturer to being a high school history teacher have helped guide and shape his current role working with FGLI college and high school students. Connect with James on LinkedIn.

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