Nov. 23, 2010
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Back to school - Part II

Graduates return to Purdue to advance their careers

By Brian Wallheimer

After nearly 20 years or more in school starting at the age of 5, it’s easy for college graduates to feel as though a great burden has been lifted off their shoulders.

Amanda Stewart

Photos by Tom Campbell

Amanda Stewart worked for wineries in New Zealand and Oregon before returning to campus this summer to begin working on her doctorate in enology.

No more tests. No more all-nighters. No more tuition bills.

Many walk down the aisle, grab their diplomas and never look back.

There are others, however, who think the same things — swear they’ll never sit in a classroom or computer lab again. The days of ramen noodles are over. But here they are, back at Purdue, whether it’s simply to advance their education to move up in their chosen careers or to reinvent themselves to follow newfound passions.

“As undergraduates, at that point in many people’s lives, they don’t know what they want to do. A lot of times you don’t know what you want to do until you’ve done something,” said Dale Whittaker, formerly College of Agriculture associate dean and director of academic programs, and now vice provost for undergraduate academic affairs. “Once they decide what they want to do, new knowledge can put them at a competitive advantage.”