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The life of a non-traditional student

February 5, 2015

 

FREDEDREIA WILLIS
Staff Reporter

 

The passion of his grandfather dug deep and created a desire in Bruce Norman’s heart to follow in his footsteps, which was one reason leading him to be a non-traditional college student.

 

Norman said it had always been his plan to return to school by 2015, and new opportunities pushed him to return in March 2014.

 

“In January of 2014 the company I was working for eliminated several thousand management positions, with mine being one of them,” said Norman, a middle-aged junior mechanical engineering major. “While I had had some fair-paying jobs, the lack of a college degree meant I was, in general, earning less and had poorer benefits than I would receive if I had a STEM degree.”

 

Norman said his paternal grandfather was a civil engineer who sparked his interest in going into the profession.

 

“I was influenced by him because he was very deliberate and organized,” Norman said. “When I would spend time with him, he would tell me some of his inspiring growing up experiences.”

 

He said his father was in the army from 1960-1980 and they traveled quite a bit as it was normal for him to be transferred to a new duty station about every two years.

 

Norman said his first term of college was in 1982 at Northwestern Annex at Fort Polk and returning to school again has adjusted the way he learns new things.

 

Norman said he is currently not working because he wanted to be able to devote all of his time toward his courses, but he had been saving money to return to school.

 

“In order to do well I have to think beyond the material presented and look at ways to make different methods work together to achieve a greater result,” he said. “I still struggle with this at times but my thought processes are much broader when compared to them when I returned.”

 

Norman said being around younger students comes with no surprises because in his previous job the people he had authority over were within the age range of most of Louisiana Tech’s students.

 

“My return to school has been very good and the younger students seem to accept me as just another fellow student, although on occasion I am mistaken for faculty,” he said.

 

Norman said he feels like just another student, although one with a bit more life experience.

 

“The first thing I will do after graduating is find stable employment with a company known for treating their employees well,” he said. “I will enjoy life as much as possible.”

 

Email comments to flw005@latech.edu.

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