Date of Award

Spring 5-5-2018

Document Type

Honors Project

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


English, Linguistics, and Communication

Department Chair or Program Director

Richards, Gary

First Advisor

Johnson-Young, Elizabeth

Major or Concentration

Communication and Digital Studies


In this paper, a non-traditional student in college (disabilities aside) is defined as someone who didn’t enter college directly after high school but undertook life’s responsibilities – job, family, military. My paper is an autoethnography titled “Hashtag: My Journey to Self-fulfillment Via Education and shares my educational journey to higher learning as a non-traditional student deciding, at the age of fifty-nine, to matriculate at a community college then continue to a major university in my sixties. My non-traditional journey depicts my path in the job market and having to come to terms that a change was needed after facing brick walls of ageism and no degree, despite having made measurable professional strides. Like a small tree in a dense forest, so had I become in this vast digital universe. I could not see that everything was being powered digitally and was required in all communication, nor could I be seen outside of my personal work environment. The importance of maintaining current, marketable, and digital technological skills cannot be belied. Fears and apprehension about my ability to do well in college ensued, however, I realized that if wanted to be credible in the marketplace, I needed ‘letters behind my name’. Learning to communicate digitally (engaging in digital rhetoric) is critical just to be able to ‘learn’. A non-traditional path to a degree is becoming more than an option for many. It is becoming the way of life.

Included in

Communication Commons