Jen Krivda, a freshman veterinary technology student, speaks about the challenges of being an adult student and how Manor College helped her overcome them.
Coming to college as an adult learner is an adjustment, Jen Krivda said, and it all starts in the classroom.
While studying at a different institution several years ago, the 26-year-old remembered the nervousness that came with speaking up and asking a question in class. You don’t want to sound stupid and worried about what others thought of you, Krivda said.
She took a gap year, began a career in veterinary medicine and enrolled at Manor College last Fall. The anxiety that came with asking questions was gone.
“When you’re older, you feel the stakes of an education,” Krivda said. “Now, I just ask the questions. If you don’t ask the question, I’m only suffering. The person being silent and failing is worse than me feeling silly asking the question.”
The differences continued as Krivda’s first semester at Manor College continued. Socially, she notices the age gap when she overhears classmates talking about their lives.
But Krivda’s most notable change in the years is in her motivation.
“When I come here, I know I’m in class, studying or eating between classes,” Krivda said. “I’m not watching videos in the library on my phone.
Despite the slight age gap, Krivda believes Manor College fosters a home for adult learners. She’s not alone in being an adult learner either. At Manor College, nearly 25 percent of the population is 25 years old or older.
In the classroom, she’s found more passion for her classes and hands-on learning, meaning classes feel less like a chore and more like practical experience.
“I can go into work one day, have a patient come in and handle that issue,” Krivda said. The next day, I can ask about that situation in a different context in class.”
As a veterinary assistant at Family Pet Clinic in Southampton, Krivda learned informally on the job about life in veterinary medicine. Learning in the classroom provides a different perspective and reasoning to particular situations, she said.
“Hearing the language puts everything into context,” Krivda said. “I kept saying, ‘That’s why they use this particular medication for so long,’ or ‘that’s how they treat something commonly that I never thought of.’”
Krivda first learned about Manor College from co-workers at Family Pet Clinic. As veterinary technicians came into the practice, many would tell her they attended Manor.
Krivda held off from attending college because she kept waiting for “the perfect time” that balanced her work schedule and financial capability. As the years went by, she realized there was never going to be a perfect time.
“The struggle was always, ‘How can I go part time at work if I have these bills to pay?’” Krivda said. “I was scared that, since I haven’t used my brain in this way for so long, I might not be able to – that I wouldn’t compare and compete with students coming out of high school.”
She convinced herself by focusing on her career goals.
“If I wanted to progress in this career, having this degree would be more beneficial,” Krivda said. “I’ll be in this same position in five years if I don’t take the leap.”
Entering her second semester, she’s excited for different opportunities afforded to Veterinary Technology students like externships, aspects of medicine she doesn’t see in general practice and working with large animals. She’s been encouraged by the help of professors, who feel more like human than hierarchical and have made her decision to return to college feel right.
“The professors here are super approachable,” Krivda said. “If you do what you need to do and come prepared you’re not going to have a problem.”