I had planned on writing a post on adjusting back to the student life, but fellow blogger Lisa beat me to it. If you haven’t read it yet, read it here as she absolutely nailed how a lot of us feel!
I’ll turn instead to another topic that’s been on my mind. Upon returning to bSchool I feared not only classes themselves, but also the fact that I was entering and aiming to return to the public sector. How would classmates react? Would there be any resources available to me? Will I immediately be pegged as “the education person”?
The first thing I discovered quite quickly is that there are a lot of folks in the program that would fall into the “non-traditional” background. Before the bSchool journey I had assumed everyone would be a banker, marketer or consultant or was wanting to be one of these. Wrong. I’ll just talk about the folks that surround me everyday while in class. I have several former military folks around me and they had backgrounds ranging from pilots to engineers. I have entrepreneurs that have run or sold several businesses over the years. There are folks that want to go into the sports industry or the animation industry and some that came from working for the government or other public interest nonprofits. I am continually impressed by the diversity of my cohort.
In the classroom I’ve found that hearing from all perspectives adds great value to discussions and lectures. It’s one thing that is vastly different from the undergrad experience. All of us are able to jump in and share something from our “previous lives.” We had a case discussion about an aviation company and we were able to hear first hand knowledge from those that had experience in the industry. As long as you or others are contributing insightful information, the comments are welcome and helpful. I’ve found that there are several resources available to non-traditional students. The first is one another. The first years choose peer advisors, mainly by career focus so several of us found ourselves all grouped together. The actual career counselors are another great resource. They have seen several of us through the years and can point us to other students, alumni and outside sources that we may find helpful. And finally, the Net Impact club here on campus is full of folks from all backgrounds that want to have a positive impact on the world.
I have not been pegged as “the education person” (or at least not to my knowledge!) as most people here want to get to know you as an individual. They are willing to help you with your goals regardless of your former work life. If you are wavering on whether or not bSchool is the place for you – I definitely was – take a look at what McCombs has to offer. I’m certainly glad I did!