Non-trad puts family in N.C. on hold to fulfill teaching dream

I have never been so lonely as I am right now.

I am surrounded by other students who are closer to the ages of my children, and socially we do not have a lot in common. While I am in classes, I feel out of place because I have a different mindset than that of my classmates. And when I am back in my living space, I am alone with the exception of my cat.

I have been married for 26 years, and because of my desire to become an elementary teacher, I am separated from my husband, who is still living in North Carolina.

Back in August of 2011, I decided that I would begin taking college classes with the plan of getting my degree in education. Prior to that, I was a stay home mom dedicated to giving my children the best I could.

Everything was going smoothly, I was enrolled at the Community College of Vermont in Rutland, then transferred to Castleton in 2012.

In June of 2014, we had to make a quick decision to move back to North Carolina-Virginia because my mother-in-law’s health had taken a drastic turn for the worse.

This meant that my degree had to be put on hold. I had all but given up hope that I would ever get my teaching degree.

It seemed as life had other plans for me.

But, I decided if I could not be a full-time accredited teacher, then I would be a substitute teacher and tutor. Just as I had given up, fate once again stepped in. My husband encouraged me to see what I could do about finishing my degree.

As soon as I was accepted back at Castleton, my father-in-law became very sick. He was hospitalized, and by the end of the week he had passed away. I felt torn again, between wanting to stay home and be with my family and finishing my degree.

Two things I am passionate about: my family and teaching.

To become a teacher, I would have to give up being with my family and friends and move back to Vermont.

I just could not give up my dream!

Teaching is my dream, my everything.

Have you ever wanted something so much that no matter what came along in life you could not get away from it? Here I am, a forty-something-year-old college student, struggling my way in a social setting filled with mostly twenty-somethings. I feel out of place, lonely, and insecure.

But I’m determined.

I am living in Foley Hall in Rutland and commute daily to campus. My husband, son, two dogs and two cats still reside in North Carolina. My daughter is a chef in Brandon, and I have a cat that is my ESA.

Deciding to attend any higher learning school is a big decision, but doing it as a non-traditional student is life altering.


– Rachel Manuel

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