:: Spotlight: Sarah Shamburg

Posted: October 26, 2011

Forty Year Old Freshman

Sarah Shamburg was not your typical college student. At the time that she completed her bachelor’s degree in English at The University of Texas at Austin, most of her classmates were the same age as her children.

Below is Sarah’s story, in her own words.

I’d always wanted to go to college, but I wasn’t certain of exactly what I wanted to study. My ancestors founded Harvard, but that love of education and knowledge skipped a generation with my dad, and he discouraged me from following my curious mind into higher education. Instead, I married young and raised two wonderful sons. When my sons were ready to go to college, the task of helping them visit, apply to and decide where to go fell on my inexperienced shoulders. But I was successful in guiding them, and they were both accepted into programs with limited enrollment.

With the boys away at school, it was time for me to do something different and explore opportunities for personal growth. I had a love for learning and was fairly well read, but I also wanted to expand my employment opportunities, after being a stay at home mom and community volunteer.

So, on the very day my youngest son started his college classes, I began a class at Austin Community College (ACC). I took one class, and then two. A friend suggested I think about going to school full-time and apply for a local scholarship. I won the scholarship for full-time coursework, and I attended ACC for two years, then transferred to UT.

I would occasionally run into my sons’ friends on campus who were encouraging and enthusiastic towards my efforts. I enjoyed the vibrant atmosphere of learning and had an appreciation for the both the students’ and professors’ points of view!

My last two semesters on campus, I was exploring careers, focusing on job searching and preparing for interviews. As a result, I neglected my last Spanish course requirement. My academic advisor suggested that I take the course through UEX citing its flexible study time and UT course credit. I’m so glad I did! The UEX course enabled me to complete my degree while I made the transition away from college and began work.

Sarah took SPN 312L - Second-Year Spanish II as a self-paced online course to complete her degree requirements and graduate.

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