Adell Wright hasn’t been to school in forty years. Sure, she pulled into the parking lot of Sampson Community College a few times. Without even getting out of the car, she drove off. This is the story of what many students do who are above the average college age when they decide to head back into the classroom.
“When Adell first came to SCC, she seemed very intimidated and a little overwhelmed,” says Laura Carraway, Wright’s English instructor at the college. “Not only was she a little apprehensive with the age difference between the other students and herself, but also the technology that was used to administer and turn in assignments.”
Adell moved to Sampson County from Massachusetts twenty years ago after working for a major newspaper company for almost a decade. After establishing her home here, she worked in Sampson County for sixteen years with the same company. Adell says she loved her jobs, they were great jobs, but she knew she wanted something more.
“I was afraid,” she says. “I remember when I finally decided to try to go back to school. I was terrified. I have not been in school for four decades. I finally pulled up to SCC, scared to death. I ended up driving away. I bet I pulled up in front of SCC at least five times before I got the nerve to get out of that car.” She sat in her car watching younger students making their way to classes. She almost never got out of that car. Finally, she did it.
Adell (L) speaks with SCC staff member, Marleen Powell.
Adell says for her, working in the same field for so long made her complacent. She says something kept telling her it was time to move on and finally she left. She says it was very scary, particularly at her age and the time she had put into her job. She says something just didn’t feel quite right in her life and she was not happy.
“I was never satisfied,” she says. “The benefits were good, the salary was good, but something was missing. I would come home daily from both jobs complaining to my husband saying I am not doing enough.” The pursuit of her Human Services Technology degree is what makes her happy these days. “What I want to do is work with the young people to help as many as I can to get back on track with their lives. I have been through a lot of what these young people are going through and survived it. I want them to have someone to talk to and who has been where they are and let them know that they can do it and that they will be alright.”
Adell says her first semester was terrifying. That said, “It was one of the best moves that I could have ever made,” she says. “There have been times that I wanted to get out of the seat and walk out of class. But I could not do that, I have come too far.”
Carraway has noticed her student’s grades going up too. “Now that she has been here a little while, she is visibly more confident in her abilities to be successful in her courses and is very conscientious when it comes to both short-term and long-term assignments. I think this experience has been good for her because it has shown her that it’s never too late to achieve your goals and become the person you want to be.”
“The advice that I would give a mature student as far as returning to school is to just do it,” Adell adds. “Yes, it will be scary at first, but you will make it. I was stuck on the age factor and I really should not have been.” To begin your own journey, visit us on Facebook or at www.sampsoncc.edu.