By Kegan Allee - Advocacy Support Specialist, Rape Prevention Education Program, Women’s Center
As graduate students we already know we are at least a little different than most undergraduate students here at UCSB, but what is it exactly about our experience that makes us feel different? Depending on who you ask you might hear answers like “life experiences” or “maturity.” I know that when I began the PhD program in Sociology I wondered about where I should live when I moved into town since I did not really see myself in Isla Vista, but I also moved to town with a partner and pets. My life experiences were just different than many undergraduates, and it changed the way I viewed the community. I also felt alone sometimes wondering where other people “like me” were studying or grading. I am now a staff member at the Women’s Center and part of my job responsibilities are to be an advocate for non-traditional and re-entry students. In this role I have heard similar statements from these students who often feel somehow different from their peers because of their life experiences.
Many people think of non-traditional students as only undergraduates, but there are several ways in which graduate students can fall into this category. Non-traditional students are older (undergraduates who are 25 or older and graduates who are 29 or older), domestic partners/married, student parents, or veterans, and many non-traditional student fall into more than one category. There is a Re-Entry and Non-Traditional student Resource Center located in the Student Resource Building that has 30 lockers available for students to use throughout the year, a net station, comfortable study areas, children’s toys, and lots of natural light. The resource center provides a space for socializing and studying with other students you might relate to more (both undergraduates and graduates) where you can meet new friends and feel at home on campus. I hope to see you around!