INSIDE MY BAGINSIDEMY BAGNMC, MI Reconnect transform adult learner’s college experienceJENNIFER YAPLE“ I’M REALLY PROUD OF MYSELF. Dropping out of school as a 20-year-old single mom has nagged at Jennifer Yaple for more than two decades.

So when Michigan Reconnect came along, she seized the state scholarship that pays the in-district tuition for adults over 25 who don’t have a college degree. A conversation with Computer Information Technology instructor-turned adviser Lisa Balbach steered the 43-year-old, now a married mother of three young adults, to IT. In her first year Yaple has learned how to manage her ADHD diagnosis, earned multiple scholarships, and overcome insecurity about returning to college and being a woman in a male-dominated field.

“I felt like I was drowning at first,” Yaple said. But reaching out for help from instructors, a tutor and fellow students made a huge difference. “I’m surprised by my confidence. I actually understand this [material] and like it,” she said. “I haven’t felt like an outsider. I’ve felt welcomed.” N
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