Candy Searle overcomes nontraditional student challenges

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Here at UVU we have extraordinary students and faculty members who lead accomplished lives worth praise. One such person is senior psychology major Candy Searle. She dropped out of school in the ninth grade because she suffered from ADHD, which prevented her from being able to focus in school.

“At that time, I was told I was a problem child and stupid,” Searle said.

Wanting to be rid of the situation, Searle decided to obtain her GED. After earning her GED, Searle brought five children into the world. One of which was her daughter, who enrolled in a program in high school that gave her the opportunity to earn her associate’s degree. Searle, who hadn’t been to school in more than a decade, wanted to know exactly what her daughter was getting; so, she decided to attend college alongside her.

“I changed my major three times. At first it was family studies, then behavioral science with a psychology emphasis to my current major which is psychology,” Searle said.

Her desire to return to school to receive her bachelor’s degree wasn’t well received.

“The only person who believed in me was Kristen, my behavioral science advisor,” she said.

With the help of Kristen, Searle began her journey returning to school. After taking the mandatory student success class, she was led to the UVU mentor program, which provided her with the support needed to continue school while raising her children.

Eventually, Searle transitioned from having a mentor to becoming one, which led her to aiding in the sponsoring and promotion of the SLAM conference back in February.

She is one of many nontraditional students here on campus.

“A non traditional student is anybody who doesn’t feel like or see themselves as a typical student,” Searle said. “Being a nontraditional student has impacted me in a lot of positive ways. I’m able to connect with my teachers in ways the young students can’t while simultaneously being able to connect with the younger students because I’m mom.”

Though she’s busy, Searle finds ways to be involved on campus.

“I’ve been a department rep for UVUSA; I’m able to bring up issues nontraditional students face that the traditional students on senate don’t know exist, like daycare,” she said.

While juggling a full-course load, Searle’s oldest child was diagnosed with ADHD only to discover her child had Asperger’s syndrome, a form of Autism typically found in those who are high functioning. Searle, a single mother of five children, two  with Asperger’s and another with ADHD, found a way to add work to her plate to help her pay for her education. Despite all the obstacles and hardships,  Searle is set to graduate next spring alongside her oldest daughter.

“Continuing my education has given me hope, purpose, insight and the drive to help bring about change,” she said.

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