The undergraduate program at Eastern is not just for the young, but also for the young at heart, as proved by several adult students pursuing their undergraduate degrees.
Three adult students gave an inside look at what it’s like to be an adult student and how Eastern meets their specific needs as someone beyond the usual college age.
Marjorie Umlauf is a fifty-year-old senior biology major in her second year at Eastern with the intention of going to physician’s assistant school and later working in neurology.
Umlauf decided to seek her degree when her son decided against going to college, and she felt led to attend Eastern. She attends classes every day and said school is currently her main priority.
Umlauf describes her experience at Eastern with great joy and excitement, singing the praises of the relationships she has developed with some of the younger students.
“I love listening to the stories,” she said. “It’s such a nice group of people to be around.”
Umlauf has bridged the gap between herself and younger students to form lasting bonds that she hopes to maintain even after graduation this year.
“There are some students that I think I will keep in touch with forever,” she said.
Josh Andersen, a thirty-year-old senior and also a first-time college student, echoes Umlauf’s sentiments about the positive relationships he has found within EU’s community.
“At my age, it’s kind of an interesting balance because I feel like I have strong relationships with students and also strong relationships with professors,” he said. “It’s really the best of both worlds for me.”
Andersen, who is very interested in social justice, specifically chose to attend the undergraduate program, even though he knew there were programs designed especially for adults.
“I didn’t come to EU looking for programs for adults because the undergraduate programs were so compelling,” he said. “Eastern is the best college in the continental United States for a Christian seeking social justice.”
Christine Stolz is a thirty-one-year-old senior psychology major who hopes to become a psychologist and work with children who have been sexually abused.
“I have been getting a great education at Eastern,” she said. “All my teachers have been great; they are flexible and take into account that they have older students in their classes.”
She also spoke about the sense of community that she has found with other students.
“All the younger students are really nice,” she said. “They don’t treat you any different because you are older.”
Stolz and Andersen agreed that it can be a struggle to balance both school and a job. Stolz has quit her full-time job so she can attend classes, while Andersen goes to school and works.
Stolz would like to see Eastern create some more opportunities for adult undergraduates, such as the possibility of Saturday classes or adult peer groups.
Still, the adult undergraduates do not seem to regret the choice to study with a younger group of people.
“If I had sought out an adult program, I think I would have missed out on an amazing opportunity,” Andersen said.