Nontraditional: Life Lessons from a Community College

Annorlunda. Mar. 2020. 214p. ISBN 9781944354534. pap. $14.99. ED
The phrase college student used to conjure images of teens or twentysomethings living in the dorms while studying full time. However, societal, economic, and technological changes have diversified the student body, especially in community colleges, where displaced workers, returning veterans, and those juggling full-time employment and schoolwork attend classes together. Kuhlman, who became an adjunct composition instructor after a career in insurance, deftly intertwines her story with vignettes describing the students she met, such as Jared, a veteran living with post-traumatic stress disorder; Maggie, a displaced autoworker; Betty, a senior citizen taking advantage of free tuition; and June, a young adult caring for grandparents with dementia. Kuhlman’s absorbing, heartfelt stories will draw in readers, who will root for the students’ success. Throughout the narrative, a message emerges—though life’s journeys rarely follow a straight path, we can nevertheless achieve happiness.
VERDICT An encouraging, uplifting work that will inspire both college students and teachers, as well as those considering returning to school.
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