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Giving adult learners a Second Wind

08-26-2013 Second Wind.JPG

The Second Wind Club on the Gainesville Campus of the University of North Georgia supports adult learners — students who are 23 or more years old or who have been out of high school for five years or more — by giving them opportunities to meet with peers who have similar experiences and challenges. Brenda Adams, coordinator for Student Life and Services for Adult Learners, talks about the club and the difference it is making in the education and lives of its members.

 

What are some of the challenges these students face that students who attend college right after high school do not?

Adult learners face numerous challenges that range from life changes such as supporting a family as a single parent, going through a divorce, changing careers, fear of not being accepted in the classroom with a majority of traditional students, re-learning study skills, time management for their hectic lives, and trying to find the fastest route to obtaining their education and moving ahead with their future goals. 

Why is it important for adult learners to build a network with their peers?

By building a peer network, these students gather valuable information from other students' experiences, perspectives, and knowledge. Many of our meetings involve discussing how families can support them by being more receptive to the need for a quiet study space at home and helping with meals and cleaning chores. Families also need to recognize their needs as a returning student while trying to adjust to a new environment and still meet their everyday demands. The group shares a wealth of ways to survive in the stressful world of handling so much so fast. A network helps provide information about college including choosing classes, finding study groups, using resources on campus, and having a sounding board to give advice. Networking opens the door to many opportunities for them, and the encouragement and support this club gives its members helps retain adult learner students to complete their education to open doors to a brighter future.

How does the club support members who have more responsibilities than their classmates?

Second Wind gives its members a time and place to vent about their challenges and learn more about the assistance that is available to them. Switching careers or going through life-changing situations like going to college can be major struggles, and talking with their peers opens up a stress-free environment for them to relax and find a refuge with students on common ground. Our faculty credits the adult learner with enriching the traditional student's educational experience in the classroom because they bring real life experiences to the classroom discussions.

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