MEOC participants in their own words

Going back to college as an adult can be intimidating! And yet, in Maine, so-called “non-traditional” students, are becoming more and more common every year. Each year, hundreds of Maine adults find success in college. Each is a little different, but one thing many have in common is that they have worked with MEOC to find success.

The following is a variety of MEOC participants, from new enrollees to college to recent graduates, telling in their own words a little bit about what college was like for them.

Background – MEOC participants come from all over the state of Maine, from ages 18 to 65, and sometimes even older! Some are single parents, some are finding their way back to the workforce after some time away.

In 2001, I found myself to be a single parent of two; ages 6 and 8. I began to recognize certain patterns and behaviors that were playing out in my life.
                                    Gail, age 44

I am a 65 year-old and hard-of-hearing woman who pretty much raised 2 children alone; I’m also a grandmother of 6, and a great-grandmother to one.
Linda, age 65

I was incarcerated for a period of time before being transferred to a facility in Charleston, ME. At that time I had been eager to get an education upon my release. Due to my circumstances at that point I had not been able to take the steps to begin the process.
Carmine, age 23

Previous Work History – MEOC participants come from all walks of life! From mill workers to waitresses, recent high school graduates to grandmothers, it’s never too late or too early to decide to go to college!

I have earned my Commercial Lobster & Crab Harvesting Class II License. I attend to be working full time in the lobstering industry while attending UMA. I will pursue working as an electrician’s helper as well.
Tommy, Age 18

I was working as a carpenter’s helper.

I work for a catering company.
Jennifer, age 31

I have several years experience working as a group home manager and direct care staff person for adults with special needs and mental illness.
Molly, age 48

I’m working as a custodian 40 hours per work. I continue to find balancing a full-time job and attending school challenging, but I do the best to manage my time.
Paul, age 46

Degrees – Mainers are lucky to live in a state with such a wide variety of postsecondary options, and MEOC participants take advantage of all of them! From certificate programs, to advanced four year degrees, anything is possible.

I am enrolled in the Bachelor Degree Jazz and Contemporary Music Performance concentration program at UMA.
Tommy, age 18

I will start my Master’s degree in Leadership Studies at USM.
Beatrice, age 40

I intend to acquire the necessary further educational requirements to obtain a BSN. I am in the first part of that process as a student at Eastern Maine Community College, enrolled in their Nursing Program.

I am recently enrolled at Central Maine Community College. My goal is to earn an applied science degree in electromechanical engineering.

I am currently a UMA senior. I remain focused on my goal of earning my BS in Mental Health and Human Services.

[I am preparing] to enter my final year at the Nursing program at Eastern Maine Community College.
Sidney, age 40

Obstacles – One constant for anyone who goes to college is that there are always going to be stumbling blocks. Some are more obvious than others, but rest assured, everyone has them!    

My biggest challenge this year was accepting the potential that others saw within me: that I am more than capable of succeeding in a Master’s program. During this decision-making process, it revealed many of my own doubts, concerns, and anxieties about the “what-ifs.”

 [My husband] suffered a major heart attack in 2009. We incurred a great deal of debt as my oldest son struggled with Crohn’s disease.

As a single mother, my finances are tight.

Unfortunately, I find myself in a position wherein I have to move, as my home is in such a dilapidated condition that I honestly don’t feel it’ll stay in one piece the next two winters.

 I was prepared for this year of school work to be more difficult than the previous years, but I quickly realized that there was absolutely no way to be completely prepared for the work that I would have ahead of me. This past fall semester was my first in the nursing program, where I took the first “core” nursing class and pharmacology. This proved to be a test of my will to make it through the program and to also be able to keep my sanity while doing so!

Motivations – Maybe it is to improve income, motivate your children, or simply to enjoy your career more, there are a ton of reasons to want to go to college.

I realized I was recreating my childhood and decided that I could not and would not raise my children in that environment.

I took ownership of my choices, the good and the bad, and decided I owe it to, not only myself, but to my children, to pursue my dreams.

Did I want to be a researcher? Educator? Both? What I knew with certainty is that I wanted to be able to, in some capacity, study the ecosystems that surrounded me for my entire life.
                                    Joshua, age 27

I wish to continue attending [college] full-time so that I may complete my Bachelor’s degree and go from there to graduate school and a fulfilling career.

College Highlights – No doubt, college is a lot of work. But, it’s also very rewarding! Whether it is the satisfaction of a job well done, making new friends, or developing skills you didn’t know you had, don’t forget to enjoy your time in college!

This past summer I worked as an intern with an environmental organization seeking to preserve our coastal waters through research, policy, and education. During this time I engaged in field work looking into coastal acidification and nutrient loading in commercially important clam flats. This type of work is exactly what I set out to do.

I am a committed UMA student, the success that I’ve been able to achieve has been rewarding. I was very proud to be presented with the UMA Rising Star award.

I had some fantastic opportunities to work along side nurses at Eastern Maine Medical Center, Acadia Hospital, and Dorothea Dix Psychiatric Center. The nurses and instructors were fantastic, and I got a chance to work with a lot of patients with a wide range of medical issues.

 I have been out not even four months and am wrapping up my first semester on the 16th with all A’s.

Do any of these stories sound like yours? We’d love to hear from you! Call our toll-free number (800)281-3703, or go to our website to find a meeting time and place that would work for you.