“As a non-traditional student I was a little nervous to go to school. It is a lot to take on a full-time course schedule while also paying the bills and maintaining a household. Although it was a little stressful, it was also very exciting. I love to learn and I wanted the opportunity to expand my horizons in life. I saw it as a scary new adventure that would take me to unknown places.”
“I spoke with friends of mine who were in the process of pursuing a Forestry degree as non-traditional students and they said they had wished they chose Vermont Tech instead of CCV and UVM. So, I went to an open house and found that it wasn’t too expensive and would give me what I needed to find a better paying job doing something I truly care about.”
Leah originally intended to pursue a Forestry degree, but found herself in the Landscape Contracting program. It encompassed the knowledge of botany and horticulture she was looking for and included design which spoke to her creative side.
“I have greatly enjoyed all my classes. Professor Eddy has been very responsive any time I ask for her help or an opinion on my goals and how to obtain them. Her classes have been extremely valuable in regards to my major and she has done a great job re-evaluating the courses she teaches to fit into a productive online course through the pandemic.”
“Pamelia Smith, who is now retired, was a great teacher and had experience to bring to the table as well. I have missed her this semester, but appreciate the education I was able to gain from her classes. Marie Limoge has also been a great teacher. She has done fantastic work taking over for Pamelia and brings her experience in the field as well. All and all, I am so grateful for the hard work and obvious care my professors have put into each class.”
Leah spent years considering going back to school and talking with as many people as she could about their experiences. She also had a therapist who helped to encourage her in that direction, but did not have anyone walking her through it.
“I have used as many resources as I possibly could. I wanted to succeed and get support and information any way I could. Along with regular counseling through VTC, I have used a tutor to write a research paper, gone to job fairs, participated in resume writing workshops and gone to the staff any time I had questions about financing or scheduling.”
“I am in the process of starting a business with a recent graduate from the same program. I met her through this program and we plan to do garden maintenance this year and a few small design projects. We are already booking clients.”
Leah’s hobbies include singing and playing music. “I have played many instruments, but as of now I play drums in a punk band. I hope to be singing in a 70’s-style rock band in the near future as well. I make fine jewelry, but it has, and will be, on the back burner while I gain knowledge and experience in the field of landscaping and growing plants. I love the magical world of plants and learning about ecology. The Landscape Contracting program has given me a great base to pursue work I am passionate about.”
Leah’s advice to incoming students is to, “do your best and use the resources that are given to you. Follow your passions. I can’t recommend any particular class because every class I had was well-taught and provided useful lessons. To anyone considering my major, DO IT! All my classes contributed to a rounded education about plants, how to grow them, care for them, and how to do it in sustainable and ecologically conscious ways. This program is only a two year program and will provide enough education to find descent work or a solid foundation for further education.”