Life is all about choices. You can choose whatever path you want, and you can always change where that path may lead. And you are never too old to create a new beginning!
University Park, IL,
13:52 PM

Graduate Profile: You're Never Too Old to Create a New Beginning

When Shari Schneider returned to school after raising her four children, her Bachelor of Arts in Early Childhood Education created new opportunities in a field she had been in for 20 years. With her experience in daycares and as a paraprofessional in Special Education classes, the 2020 Governors State University (GSU) graduate reflects on the path that led her to GSU.

“I raised four children and never finished college when I was younger,” explains Schneider. “Having gone through a divorce, it was time for me to finally pursue my career in teaching. My love for watching children grow and learn as a daycare worker and school paraprofessional led me to this opportunity at GSU.”

As she looks back on her time at GSU, getting to meet so many amazing people tops Schneider’s list of highlights. “I created friendships that I know will last forever. Another highlight was getting the opportunity to be a part of different school districts for labs for Early Childhood Education. Being able to have the opportunity to attend the different schools helped me to understand the amazing diversity of our state. I feel that this opportunity helped to shape me as a teacher.”

Notably, Schneider was a Kappa Delta Pi, Tau Sigma Delta, a student Education Association Member and she made the Dean’s List while at GSU. She credits the many professors that helped her throughout her college career and who shaped her experience and her future.

“First, there’s Dr. Jeannine Klomes. She is who I will strive to be as a teacher. She had the caring disposition that we as future educators need to have, but she would be honest and tell you how it really is. Another professor that I feel needs recognition is Dr. Ellen Silver-Horrell. She was my first professor at GSU and she is truly a dedicated professor and wonderful woman all around.

“Finally, I have to give a huge shout-out to a professor that was not teaching my major, but one who really made me want to know more about the history of the United States. Professor Eliot Fackler made this class simply amazing. I honestly never thought that learning U.S. history would be fascinating, but I learned so much. It has pushed me to learn even more outside of his class.”

So what’s next for Schneider after graduation? “This has been an unusual time in our lives right now, and graduation was not at all like I thought it would be. Being older, I really wanted a ceremony, but unfortunately due to the world right now, that was not able to happen. I am actively searching for a teaching position with the hopes that school will be opening in the fall. I am also spending lots of time with my children and granddaughters and counting my blessings every day that we are all happy and healthy.”

Her advice to current and future GSU students is simple: “Life is all about choices. You can choose whatever path you want, and you can always change where that path may lead. And you are never too old to create a new beginning!

“My Dad always told me, ‘Good, better, best. Never let it rest. Until the good is better, and the better is best!’ Stay the course and all of your dreams can come true.”

Apply for the Early Childhood Education program todayOr join us on June 3 for virtual Coffee with a Counselor to discuss admissions, programs, and more.