The Vermont Connection


The decision to go back to school in pursuit of higher-higher education is an extremely strenuous, anxiety-stricken, self-reflective, and courageous process, especially for those that have been “out of school” for two years or more. Although there is some existing literature on nontraditional students and their journey going to college, there is even less literature on the experiences of returning students that decide to pursue a graduate degree after being academically removed from their undergraduate institution for quite some time. Thus, this paper seeks to examine some of the more specific instances experienced by graduate students, particularly those that returned to academia after working for two years or more. Additionally, this article will further study and highlight this multi-faceted and experiential process: the anxieties, challenges, and overall development of these “returners to the academy.” Lastly, through the lens of the Pilipino American identity, the author will discuss how working within an institution of higher education before attending graduate school has impacted and shaped their personal and professional development as a first-year graduate student, scholar, and practitioner.