Janica Go, a first year international graduate student from the Philippines, studies marriage and family therapy at Seton Hall but she is someone who does not feel capable of immersing herself within the student body.
Her background as a graduate and international student causes her to feel unsure as to whether she will fit in with clubs on campus, despite wanting to join them.
The Non-Traditional Student Association is a new club on campus aimed at bringing students together to support non-traditional students at SHU.
Their mission is “to offer support for non-traditional students through interactive dialogue, workshops, and a variety of other activities. We aim to make a positive impact in the community through community service projects.”
According to the criteria of the Non-Traditional Student Association, Janica can identify as a non-traditional student. They define non-traditional students as: those who are 24 or older, a transfer student, waited to start college, took a break from school, support themselves financially, are married, work full time, have children or dependents, have served in the military or are an international student.
Sarah Miller, a 25-year-old transfer student studying social work, is the president of the club. She highlights her similar experience as a non-traditional student, and how attending school at that point in her life made it difficult for her to fit in.
Miller felt there was no club on campus similar to this one that provides support for non-traditional students. Given her background in social work, she saw this lack of representation as a “social problem” on campus.
Michelle Rodriguez, a senior social work major and vice president of the club, had a similar story. She worked for a couple years, and then decided to come back to school.
“This club appeals to students because there are more and more none traditional students attending college,” she said. “This club brings people together that are juggling many different situations at one time and still maintaining school.”
Despite the club not being an official organization yet, they had their first meeting on Oct. 19. With 10 attendees at the meeting, they discussed who they were, got to know the members and talked about upcoming events.
Miller described the meeting, stating, “Every person was saying how much they felt this club was necessary. They know other people on campus that could really benefit from this org and they are really excited to tell it to them.”
When asked if she would be interested in joining the club, Janica said, “If it’s about support, it would be nice to get support from international students because they would probably understand me a lot more.”
Despite this, she was still unsure of joining and just how well she would fit in.
Both Miller and Rodriguez highlight the need for this club, as there is an ever-increasing population of non-traditional students on campus. For this reason, they feel this club will continue to grow in numbers.
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Daniel J D’Amico can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org