Evening & Weekend Studies

Fall 2008 Stories

Turning Point
What Brought You to Evergreen?

by Hannah Maier

It had been more than a decade since Michelle Gulden was last in school when she decided to enroll at The Evergreen State College. She had earned her two-year degree at South Puget Sound Community College, after which she decided to “take a short, 11-year break.” Gulden filled those years and more as a single mother and working full time. Then she married, had another child and became a stay-at-home mom. All the while, she wrestled with whether or not to return to school to earn a bachelor’s degree.

“I felt like there was some unfinished business I had with my education before I went back to work. I wanted a bachelor’s degree and I thought, ‘It’s now or never,’” says Gulden, 41, whose career goal is to work in human resources. Gulden read feature articles in Evergreen’s Evening and Weekend Studies Class Listing that were mailed to her house and found that the non-traditional college age students featured in these articles echoed the insecurities that had been keeping her from returning to school while at the same time providing ample assurance.

“Older students said they felt afraid and insecure, but found Evergreen to be a welcoming and supportive environment,” explains Gulden, who continued to contemplate returning to college for three more years. Attending Evergreen’s quarterly Academic Fair helped put her concerns to rest. “It was a treat to meet the faculty before taking their class. They were so helpful in alleviating all my fears. I would definitely recommend going if someone is worried about returning to college.”

Winter 2008 Gulden took the plunge. She chose Evergreen because of the beautiful campus and the affordability, among other reasons. “I chose Evergreen because the schedule of Evening and Weekend Studies met my and my family’s needs. The classes looked very interesting too – not your typical ‘cookie cutter’ college classes,” Gulden notes.

Gulden enrolled in a literature program, a subject she felt comfortable with, to ease into the process of becoming a student again after so long. “I know it sounds cliché, but Evergreen is everything I thought it would be. I love the diversity of the students, the supportive faculty and how laid back everyone is,” she adds.

Hannah Maier graduated from The Evergreen State College this past summer. She hopes to go on to graduate school for a degree in deaf education or library science – or both.