Mature students adjusting to modern schools
ARLEE VELASCO, CONTRIBUTOR
Youthful steps echo through the hallways of RRC, but some students are a few strides behind.
“The biggest adjustment was getting used to the pace of the work,” said Allan Weinshenker, a first-year library and information technology student. “Another thing I really had to get used to was using technology to do a lot of my school work.”
Weinshenker, 56, graduated from the University of Manitoba with a master’s degree in sociology, but said he needed stability in a career. That’s what made him decide to go back to school.
“The last time I attended university, it was more theoretical and technology wasn’t so prevalent, ” said Weinshenker. “Sometimes I get help from my younger classmates when I fall behind on technologically-demanding classes.” Because of life’s stressors, many mature students might have more than school on their minds like family, health, finances and careers.
“Often many parents come here wanting to create a better life for their children and they’re doing that by improving their own lives so they can offer more for their children,” said Lauren Phillips, RRC’s Academic Success Centre coordinator. “It’s a huge source of strength and motivation.”
Phillips said the college provides counselling, tutoring, financial grants, academic coaching and employment services where students are taught how to create resumés and apply for jobs.
“It’s a complex situation as there is no one easy profile for a mature student,” said Phillips. “We find out their sources of strength and what the barriers may be. We help them see it very clearly so they can capitalize on their strengths.”
Students of all ages can take advantage of financial aid programs like Manitoba Student Aid and Lifelong Learning Plan to help transition to college.
“Many of our students come from the workforce,” said Phillips. “With our academic coaching, we help mature students analyze their strengths and weaknesses and come up with a personal learning plan to help them succeed.”