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Kathleen Frazier C’24 Shares Experience as Adult Learner

“Drew made me feel so welcomed from the moment I stepped on campus”

February 2024 – Pay a visit to Drew University and the chances are fairly strong that you’ll run into Kathleen Frazier C’24.

A finance major, resident student, member of the student staff to several departments, tour guide, and student leader, Frazier is a highly involved student and member of the Drew community. And she is an adult learner.

Her path to obtaining an undergraduate degree commenced traditionally, attending college directly after high school. 

She decided to leave college and enter the workforce. After some solid professional experience, Frazier later attended Raritan Valley Community College (RVCC).

As Frazier was finishing her associate degree at RVCC, she had hoped to proceed to Rutgers University’s online program. But her advisor suggested she pay a visit to Drew first before making a final decision. “I came very unsure and half way through my tour I fell madly in love and ended up transferring to Drew a semester early!” she said.

Read on to learn more about Frazier’s journey as an adult learner at Drew.

Why Drew?
Drew made me feel so welcomed from the moment I stepped on campus. No one looked at me differently for being an adult learner. I felt supported and wanted during every part of the process from visiting campus to new student orientation.

How has your experience been at Drew?
My experience at Drew has been the most wonderful life changing opportunity. My eyes have been opened to the entire world of opportunity that is possible with a degree from Drew. I have had many defining moments here, becoming a transfer orientation leader and helping other adult learners transition to Drew, becoming a board member of the student managed investment fund, and helping plan and execute admissions events. I have been pushed way outside of my comfort zone to try so many things I never knew I was capable of, all while being supported by so many amazing mentors like John H. Evans Professor of Mathematics and Computer Science Sarah Abramowitz, Dean of Enrollment Management Colby McCarthy, and Director of the Center for Career Development Kim Giorgio.

What are the strengths/positives of attending college as an adult learner?
As someone who went to college right out of high school but did not finish, the number one positive is that I truly appreciate what I am learning now. I have much more background knowledge of what I am learning and can see how it relates to the careers I want. I remember when I was younger thinking when am I ever going to use this. Now I think wow I wish I would have known this when I was at my last job. I am also not afraid to jump in and participate in the conversation. Most times I can offer a unique perspective on recent history, especially as a finance major that was finishing up high school during the financial crisis of 2008. Most of the other students in the class were only toddlers. 

I also think being an adult learner is going to help me when I re-enter the workforce.  I will have a unique perspective of having first hand knowledge of the mindset of the newest generation of workers.  I know what it is like to work with them as a peer in ways one can only get as an adult learning alongside them.

And the negatives?
The only negative I can think of is sometimes it is hard to balance my student life with my personal life. Sometimes I feel like Hannah Montana with two different lives. I have a whole different world with my partner, our home, and “adult” things to tend to in addition to everything that comes with being a full time student. I spend my weekdays at Drew fully immersed in the student world, and my weekends tending to household chores like laundry and cooking while also trying to spend time with family and friends. But when I really think about it, I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Tell us about your campus involvement.
I am the Founding President of She Leads, a club aiming to empower women entering male-dominated industries; the Chief Operating Officer for The Fund, Drew’s student managed investment fund; and a Senior Senator for Student Government.

Any advice for those thinking to return to college and/or adult learners?
Go for it! It is honestly one of the best things you can do for yourself! Especially at Drew where everyone is so welcoming!

What’s next after Drew?
I am not sure what is next. I am currently interviewing for many positions. I would love to work in an operational type role bringing people together for a shared goal and improving workplaces. My ultimate goal is to earn enough to one day create the Frazier School of Business here at Drew!

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