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Commitment to continuing education pays off for ISU non-traditional student Amanda Bennett

May 4, 2017
Katie Damron, Arts and Letters CPI

For Amanda Bennett, receiving her diploma will not only represent the education she has gained at Idaho State, but it will also represent the sacrifices she has made to earn it. Bennett is a non-traditional student, a mother of two who went back to school to further her education. And that journey was not always an easy one.

Amanda Bennett portrait"I cried every day for the first two weeks of the semester,” Bennett said. “My husband had to keep talking me into it.”

Bennett managed her course load, home responsibilities and motherhood by taking nine credits per semester as a part-time student, and averaging her study time on campus to match that of a full-time student.

“When I was home, I was home,” said Bennett. “I didn’t want to be studying at home and taking away time from my boys. They were my priority when I was at home.”

Prior to her time at ISU, Bennett had worked in marketing for over eight years. So when she started school, she was drawn to a studying for a career path that would offer flexible hours. Bennett decided on graphic design initially, but didn’t find a passion there. Instead, she explored a different emphasis in the communication program.

“Advertising felt natural,” said Bennett. “It was a great move for me and everything about advertising just clicked.”

Bennett chose ISU because of its close proximity and family ties. Her husband, Cory Bennett, is an associate professor for the College of Education. For Bennett, attending the local university did not compromise opportunity or quality of education.

“I have been pleased with the education I have gotten at Idaho State,” said Bennett. “The new CMP faculty have elevated the program, and I feel like I have gotten a great education here.”

Bennett has been accepted into the graduate program to study communication. Her desire to continue her education and maximize her skillset pushed her to pursue a graduate degree.

“I feel like I’m not done,” said Bennett. “I haven’t learned everything I want to learn. There is more to experience.”

One thing Bennett is most looking forward to in graduate school is connecting with students who are passionate about taking their education and experiences to the next level. She is excited to take classes that go more in-depth into the areas she enjoyed most in her undergraduate studies.

Bennett encourages non-traditional students to pursue their educations as well. Her advice to them is to find a balance that enables a strong commitment to school and to cultivate strong relationships with faculty and professors.

“It’s hard, but you’re never wasting your time if you put your time into school,” said Bennett.