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Despite pursuing her degree at the University of Minnesota, Wendy Smith still finds ways to spend quality time with her son, Max.
A student parent finds success
By Susan Warfield
November 6, 2007
Wendy Smith is a nontraditional student in almost every sense of the term. She's 38 years old, married, the mother of a 3-year-old son, and a transfer student from Minneapolis Community and Technical College (MCTC). Smith has certainly taken the road less traveled in both her personal and academic life. Although she began college at the University right out of high school, she lacked focus and struggled academically during her first two years. It wasn't until she reentered college at MCTC at age 36 that she found a heightened sense of commitment to her academic success. Smith earned excellent grades and eventually transferred back to the U. In the interim, she worked for many years, got married, and became a mother. Smith says that having her son increased her motivation to succeed academically and become more serious about her future career options. "Being out in the workforce without a degree for so many years, you see how limited your options are, and how that not only impacts you but your child's future as well," she says.
"I see younger students worrying about dating, their looks, what parties they are being invited to," Smith says. "I have already done all that, I have my husband, my child, my main life relationships are established, and I can focus on other things, like school and my career."
November is Non-traditional Student Month at colleges across the nation. On the Twin Cities campus, several events are planned for this week, beginning with today's Student Parent Visibility Day and continuing with information booths in Coffman Union focusing on first generation college students (Wed.); older than average students (Thurs.); and veterans (Fri.).
"It is estimated that the University of Minnesota has several thousand student parents in undergraduate and graduate programs," says student parent Lisa Coleman. "The Student Parent Visibility Day is a campus-wide event that highlights the important contributions that students who are also parents make to our campus and to campuses across the nation."