Originally featured in the newsletter prior to Fall 2018
Mindy Doherty became a student at the Rutgers-New Brunswick School of Management and Labor Relations in fall 2017 after graduating from Brookdale Community College with an AA Degree in Business Administration. Mindy admits following high school graduation in 1983, “I made some poor choices and ultimately dropped out of college within the first semester. I started a family five years later. Fast forward to the age of 48 in 2014 and four children later, I decided to return to college.”
Her encouraging sister, Stacey Pacheco, was trying to convince Mindy to attend college together, but Mindy’s busy life of working, volunteering, Girl Scout Leader and carpools made it impossible. When asked what changed her mind about returning to academics, she explained, “Watching my sister graduate in May of 2013 from Pace University motivated me to get moving. Once graduating Brookdale my plan was to attend the Rutgers off-campus program, however a coworker suggested I investigate the Bunting Program at Rutgers. After speaking with Dean Rebecca Reynolds from the Bunting Program, I made my decision to join the Douglass Residential College program and commute to the New Brunswick Campus.”
Mindy’s stress of being an adult student, with her responsibilities, cannot be sugar coated and admits that along with self-restraint came extreme decision-making that affected the future and balance of the entire household. “I learned not to get upset when I came home late after classes to find a sink full of dishes or mounting laundry. I gave up my second job, so I could speed up the process of graduating, and add more time to study. My life, as a nontraditional student, became more manageable and I never once thought about giving up. It motivated me to learn mindfulness techniques; it really works!” she exclaimed.
When asked about her experiences at Rutgers-New Brunswick she replied, “Attending Rutgers has been an amazing experience for me. Joining the Douglass program and interacting with the Bunting Women helped me make my decision to be in New Brunswick. I was excited about being surrounded with other adult women in my shoes, who could identify with my struggles and me. I found the younger students great to work with and at ease in Labor and Employment Relations courses with more working adults my age. I have been fortunate to speak to academic advisors, day or night, when I had questions and had great Professors who not only did their job of educating us, but really engaged and challenged us.”
Mindy reflects that in the beginning she was nervous about being one of the older students, but could not share one negative experience she had. She credits Rutgers’ overarching diversity for enhancing her learning beyond textbooks. Mindy’s advice to other adult students at Rutgers, “Get involved, if possible. It is nice to be part of a club or group working on something you are passionate about. As for school, family, life-balance, it may be tough at first, but don’t give up, because there is a light at the end of the tunnel. I am very excited because I can see that light, and I hope to be through that tunnel next year!”