What It's Like Going Back to Get Your Degree


If you’ve been thinking about  going back to college, but are not quite sure what to expect, SNU can help. Patti Milford, a recent graduate with a degree in Family Studies and Gerontology at SNU, shares with us her personal experience about what it’s like to go back to get your degree as an adult.

Why You Should Return to School

Whether you are ready  to advance in your career, earn a higher salary, or to achieve a personal goal, returning to school is a rewarding experience. Milford knew she wanted to be a role model for her children as well as achieve her other personal goal of completing her education.

“I returned to school because I felt a deep sense of loss of identity once my youngest child left for college,” Milford says. “I had been a very involved and active mother, and when my role in his life changed, I needed a new challenge that I would be passionate about. Returning to school also provided me with the closure of a journey that I began on the SNU campus in the fall of 1985.”

Setting an Example

When parenthood halts your education, it’s encouraging to know that it’s never too late to finish your degree. “I am always encouraging my children to keep learning, and try new things,” Milford explains. “One of the regular things that I try to speak into their lives is to not allow their fear of the unknown  stop them from trying something new, or stepping out in faith.  This was an example of, “if you preach it, you have to live it!”

The Classroom Experience at SNU

It can be scary to jump back into the classroom setting and school schedule. However, SNU has developed programs specifically for adults where the classroom becomes a place of support and learning.

“I found the subjects interesting and the instructors engaging and interested in their students,” Milford says.  “Like many SNU students, I would say that I received great encouragement and support from my fellow cohort members. We laughed together, cried together, and overlooked the irritations of being in a group for months on end together. Just like a family, we helped each other and cheered each other on.”

Managing a Work-life Balance

For many, there’s just not enough time in the day to manage balancing work, school, and a life. However, with our accelerated format, getting a degree is achievable for many parents and working adults.  

“We received wonderful advice from our first instructor on how to balance our study life and our regular life,” Milford says. “He taught me the importance of disciplining myself to work on homework each day without fail, but at the same time, giving myself one day off a week that involved no homework at all.”

“Working on my reading and homework each day helped me to keep from being overwhelmed the night before class,” she says. “The day that I set aside for my ‘no homework’ day gave me the freedom from thinking about homework at all. .”

Choosing your Adult Program

Choose your degree based on your personal interests and goals... “I chose my degree path because I was interested in the classes included in that degree,” Milford says. “Each class was interesting to me, and I looked forward to the assigned readings and  researching the topics.”

It is important to have a plan and a schedule when trying to manage school and life. “At the beginning of each week I would look over the homework requirements and determine how much time investment would be necessary,” she explains. “After doing that, I would look over my personal and work schedule for the week and set up a plan that would work well with all areas of my life. I did this religiously, and I feel that it kept me from getting behind.”

Getting Your degree at SNU

It is hard to take the first step toward earning your degree, but the payoff spans far outside the classroom.  “For me, going back to school was intimidating at first, but it soon turned into one of the biggest blessings, beyond my family and God, that I have experienced in life,” Milford says.“I benefited from every aspect of the degree program, even the areas or tasks that I found challenging and difficult. Looking back, I see that I have grown so much and I am incredibly thankful for my experience.”

SNU offers adult bachelor’s and master’s programs that will not only fit your needs, but will assist in making your dreams a reality. If you feel like it’s your time to go back and finish your degree, request more information to connect with one of our admissions specialists.

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