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Non-traditional student considered Wonder Woman

Courtesy Cher Wada Koenig

She’s led a full life, has six children, works fulltime and at age 50, still finds the time to maintain a 3.79 GPA.

Loraine Hand is just one of the many Wonder Women on campus who seem to manage the fullness of a hectic family life while still getting the job done in the classroom.

“I’ve got gray hair and I’ve got wrinkles and I’ve earned every single one of them,” Hand said.

Hand came back to school to be a good role model for her children.

“I want my children to realize how important it is to get a degree, how tough it is to get a degree older in life,” Hand said. “Even though you don’t want to do it when you’re young, do it when you’re young, because life gets hard.”

Hand didn’t attend college immediately after high school due to “life.”

“At that point it was just that the dreams that you have go away and you just sort of live life and figure out how to take care of everybody,”
she said.

After taking classes periodically since 1980 and in between raising a family, moving, and marriage, Hand earned her associate’s degree in 2009.

“It’s been very difficult, because I work fulltime and I still have two [children] at home, there’s six altogether. There’s a lot of dynamics at home and in life,” said Hand, who wants to go into child advocacy and is hoping to achieve her general studies degree in 2015.

Hand’s current professor elaborated on some of the difficulties that older students face and how they translate in the classroom.

“The things that they have done, they can transfer that sense of accomplishment in the classroom,” said Sociology Professor Sergio Romero. “Younger students are still trying to figure out who they are and are more likely to be immersed in the social life of the campus. Whereas older students have a real life, so to speak, and going to school is one of many important things that they’re doing simultaneously.”

Hand manages the difficulties between school, work and family by discussing everything with her family each semester.

“They’re very understanding. When I have time to be with them, I be with them. When I’m not with them they know to leave me alone so I can study. Everybody’s on board. And the one thing that I think it has proven to them is that if something is important enough, you figure out how to do it. You don’t use a busy life as a reason to not do something,” Hand said. “It doesn’t always work, but sometimes it does.”

And apparently, for Hand, it does work. Because one of Hand’s past professors, Sociology Professor Michael Blain believes that Hand was an excellent student.

“She was a good example of the virtues of coming back to school and having had life experiences and being responsible and mature in all the best senses of the term,” Blain said.

In other words, Hand is the epitome of what it means to be a Wonder Woman
on campus.