What is it like to be a nontraditional student at ECU?
At first I thought it would be very uncomfortable, but it’s really not. The students that are in classes with me have been very accepting. They treat me as a peer, more so than say, the ‘the old lady’ in the class. Now, there are some differences. I’ve been married for 15 years and I have a very stable home life, so I have a very different priority set than say a 20-year-old who is single and living on campus and still very much into doing what young people do. But it hasn’t been uncomfortable at all for me and I have really enjoyed it actually. In some ways I think it has really kept me young, because when you are surrounded by youth it’s hard to feel too old.
What did you before coming back to school?
I was in corporate America for a long time. My last position at the company, before I left to own my own business, was as a human resources manager. It wasn't for me. Owning a business, however, was great. Being part of the business community in Kinston allowed me to get involved with some community projects, and one of them involved the excavation and restoration of a Civil War-era ironclad. We uncovered a 18th/19th century landfill and it was fascinating for me to find artifacts and pull them out of the dirt. That was when I met Dr. Charlie Ewen from the anthropology department here at ECU. He came to look at what we had found. I guess at that point in my life I realized that if there was ever going to be a time for me to pursue my dream that was it.
What was it like to leave your comfort zone for the uncertainty of student life?
It was a little scary. I was 38 years old and had been out of school for 20-some-odd years. I have never regretted my decision. I have loved every class I’ve taken (with the possible exception of algebra), and I have just really enjoyed being back in school. I’m a much better student now than I was when I was younger. I also think that it has helped that the faculty in the anthropology department is so amazing. I have really felt like part of a family here. It's funny, I’m actually older than some of my professors.
What would you tell a potential student?
I have had such a wonderful experience with the faculty at this university that I would encourage anyone considering ECU to come for that very reason. Also, the campus is very student-friendly and the amenities are great.