Brookecircle

 

 

We asked Brooke about returning to school with the Return-to Learn Program; She stated, “I see a direction now. I just wanted to do it for myself. . . [I] came back to finish what I had started– to finish my degree and to get a better perspective on what I wanted to do with it as well.” 

Brooke initially came to Bozeman with the intention of gradutating from MSU’s film and photography program. She spent several years studying in the photography program until she was pulled away from school by financial and family trouble back in her hometown. Cast adrift by her trouble and deviod of the funding she needed to return to MSU, Brooke moved to Alaska where she became a bartender on a train tour during the more favorable months and a ski instructor during the harsher Alaskan winters.

Brooke recently returned to MSU with the intention of finishing her BA in photography. “I wanted to be doing something where I felt like I was giving something to the world,” Brooke stated. “College in the real world makes a massive difference, and having that actual degree was really important to make my way into the workforce.”

Brooke also expressed how returning to college inspired her own personal projects.

Brooke never struggled with motivation in school, instead she lacked specific direction. She expressed that her years in Alaska helped her figure out who she wanted to be. “I see a direction now.” Brooke continued, “I just wanted to do it for myself. . . Came back to finish what I had started, to finish my degree and to get a better perspective on what I wanted to do with it as well.”

Coming back to school, Brooke is now more conscious of what she will be able to do after she graduates. “[Because I'm] Constantly going, always doings things, always being tired, if I take school out of the equation, that’s still time to work on personal things. In a weird way, it has allowed me to see what I’m capable of.”

Brooke recently graduated with her bachelors in photography and plans to make the most of her own unique experiences. 

Curious about returning as well? Learn more about the benefits here

jack

 

 

 Jack, an Environmental Design major, stated this about the Return to Learn Program, "Return to Learn has me feeling greatly appreciated at MSU. I am a Senior set to graduate in the spring and need all the encouragement I can get!

I am very excited by this opportunity and want to thank R2L for all the support!" 

Curious about returning as well? Learn more about the benefits here

nathaniel

 

 

Nathaniel, a senior studying sociology, had this to say about the return to learn program, ". . . [the return-to learn program] was just a great help in getting back into the swing of things. I went from hating school and feeling all alone to having support and having people who really do want you to succeed. It really was an encouragement.”

Nathaniel began his college career by earning a general degree at a two-year university and before further traferring briefly to Washington State University. Shortly afterwards, he returned to Montana intent on pursuing an engineering degree at MSU. He began applying himself to his math and physics classes but couldn’t shake a constant feeling of frustration and boredom. So, Nathaniel declared, “I’m taking a year off, I’m gonna go hike the PCT.” He managed to hike approximately 650 miles along the Pacific Crest Trail before an old ankle injury forced him to return.   

By the time Nathaniel returned to MSU, the Fall semester was well into session. Unsure of whether he wanted to return, Nathaniel talked to an advisor who pointed him toward sociology stating that earning a sociology degree would allow Nathaniel to graduate in only three semesters. Realizing that he could graduate so quickly was all the convincing Nathaniel needed.

Nathaniel is currently intent on graduating with a bachelors in sociology, a field that he finds incredibly interesting. Nathaniel states that he loves sociology’s “grey area, [he likes] social interactions and knowing why people do certain things.” He states, “it’s fascinating.”

Nathaniel’s take-away is overall, a positive one. “I would definitely endorse time off, it definitely helped me reassess what I wanted to do, recharge, and get going and [the return-to learn program] was just a great help in getting back into the swing of things. I went from hating school and feeling all alone to having support and having people who really do want you to succeed. It really was an encouragement.”

Curious about returning as well? Learn more about the benefits here

 paul

 

 

When we asked him about his experiences returning to school Paul, a Return to Learn student who recently graduated with a degree in kinesiology, stated that he  was greatful for the time off, “It was those experiences that led me to doing what I’m doing now. My ability to coach and connect and work with people has a lot to do with my background.”

Paul first attended college to give his father, who had recently received a concerning medical diagnoses, peace of mind “because then at least he’ll be there knowing that his son is going to college.” After his dad passed, Paul and his mother moved closer to family in Bozeman.

One year after transferring from college in Arizona to MSU, Paul decided that he wanted to play college basketball, shifted his life back to Arizona, and began playing for a community college. However, at the start of his first game, right before taking his first step onto the basketball court, Paul had a staggering realization—he didn’t want to play basketball anymore.

Paul spent some time on the ski slopes of Arizona before transitioning back to Montana to actively pursue a skiing career. Looking back, Paul declared “I was going to be in the magazines and in the movies. . . skiing took over my entire life.”

Several years later, Paul did well in his first competition and entered the season in a promising way. Even though he had recently returned to MSU for architecture, Paul told his teachers, “I’m in a unique situation, I don’t know if I’ll ever have this opportunity again” before leaving MSU a second time. Paul began living his dream alongside the rise of fat skis, sports films, and Red Bull.

Paul returned to MSU  for the third and final time to earn a Kinesiology degree after a long and successful skiing career.

When asked about the Return to Learn Program Paul stated, “I have always looked at the program as people in a department that want to help people who didn’t have a clear path, or an easy path, to the finish line . . . for the [Return to Learn] program, I’ll do whatever it takes.”

Paul’s background helped him open Epic Bozeman, a gym in town. “It was those experiences that led me to doing what I’m doing now. My ability to coach and connect and work with people has a lot to do with my background.”

Curious about returning as well? Learn more about the benefits here

 francesca

 

 

Francesca recently graduated with a degree in liberal studies. When we asked Francesca about the Return to Learn Program she stated "Everyone I’ve worked with [at the Return-to-Learn Program]; their hearts are in it and everyone’s passionate about helping new students.”

 

Francesca began her journey at MSU with the intention of graduating with a bachelor’s degree in liberal studies. As Francesca neared graduation, her marriage became shaky and eventually ended. Aadditionally, the possibility of continuing life in the house she occupied briefly during her internship became nonexistent. Francesca “couldn’t afford to come back to Bozeman, I [she] didn’t have the means or the spirit.” Still, Francesca persevered, found a place to live at MSU Billings, and powered through her last semester.

Overwhelmed with stress, and a week away from completing her bachelors, Francesca forgot to turn in several of her final papers—failing some of her final courses.  After the semester ended Francesca declined to continue her education and instead devoted herself to dealing with the divorce.

At the same time, Francesca began to work for Little Big Horn Community College as a manager for a program titled “The Green House Project”. Francesca worked hard and became indispensable to the program. Later, as the Green House Project’s grant money fizzled out, Francesca was immediately picked up by the Office of Public Instruction on the Northern-Cheyenne reservation as the School-Community Liaison. “I believe they hired me because of how the green house project went and for my community outreach,” Francesca stated.

Francesca excelled as a Liaison. So, when the school improvement grant that she was working through ended, Francesca was offered a permanent position within the school district. However, Francesca’s priorities remained rooted in Bozeman. By the summer, Francesca was back among the community that her daughter and she had grown to love during their time at MSU. Francesca applied for and became employed at MSU as the Graduate Program Coordinator for Native American Studies.

Several years later Francesca applied for, and was accepted into, the Return-to-Learn Program as a returning scholar with the intention of attending school alongside her new fiancé.

Francesca states, “Everyone I’ve worked with [at the Return-to-Learn Program]; their hearts are in it and everyone’s passionate about helping new students so I’m just really grateful for that.”

Curious about returning as well? Learn more about the benefits here

 

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When asked about his experience with the Return-to-Learn program Kristian stated, "The Return to Learn team has and continues to be a warm and welcoming addition to my college experience. Knowing that there exists a group of people who genuinely care about me and my success as a student is motivating and inspiring. They have instilled in me something I thought I once lost—my confidence.

The R2L team believes in me. And now, I believe in myself. 

Thank you, R2L team."

Curious about returning as well? Learn more about the benefits here

Nicole first moved to Bozeman when she attended MSU as a freshman. During her first semester, Nicole began to struggle with her motivation. She couldn’t seem to envision a career that she wanted to pursue. Shortly after beginning at MSU Nicole married, stopped stopped attending classes, and began a family. After several married years, Nicole realized that her current life could not last much longer. She decided to revisit education and began taking several online classes. During her time out of school, Nicole had come to deeply understand her personal motivations. Nicole saw a warmth within herself, a defining capacity for  compassion and care giving. Nicole also realized that she could keep a level head in taxing and disorienting situations. 

As a result, Nicole decided that she would bet on her strengths and become a registered nurse.

Nicole’s focus was unwavering. Her ambition drove her toward earning an education that allowed her to “. . . give back to my [her] community for years to come.” Consequently, in 2017, Nicole successfully graduated MSU’s nursing program. 

Nicole applied for the Return-to- Learn Scholarship Program during her last year at MSU. 

Reflecting on her Return-to-Learn experience Nicole states, “Just knowing that the resource (Return-to-Learn program) is there is awesome on the days you feel frustrated or overwhelmed. It’s good knowing you’ve got a team at the university in your corner. They understand that you’ve got a lot going on. I’d just encourage anyone who’s thinking about returning to school to find a program like this, because they can really help you. I know they made a huge difference for me with scholarships and facilitating my education.”

Curious about returning as well? Learn more about the benefits here

"School is busy and hard enough to not have to worry about finances.  When you’re a non traditional student and life happens somewhere in the middle, it can be especially difficult to return.  People can sometimes dismiss your abilities and work ethic because you did not take the most direct path.  While many scholarships and funding sources may not do the same, return to learn took a chance with me providing a scholarship to return to school.  Just recently, holds where placed on my account due to miscommunication, but R2L sorted it out while I focused on school.  It is refreshing to know that R2L has my back, and will go to great lengths to ensure my success.

Some of our routes were always destined to vary from the rest, and Return to Learn understands that.

Thank you Return to Learn!"

Curious about returning as well? Learn more about the benefits here