Belinda Cavazos would be lost without her planner.
Between being a mother of two daughters, one college-aged and one newborn, a part-time job at Austin Regional Clinic and her coursework as a healthcare administration senior, Cavazos said every day and every week is planned out.
Cavazos, 40, will graduate from Texas State in December. She was one of 463 undergraduate students between the ages of 40 and 50 at Texas State in 2012, according to data from Institutional Research. In 2002, 447 students of the same age group were enrolled, according to the data.
The number of students ranging in age from 30 to 40 has slowly but steadly increased at the university, with 1,021 students in the age group attending in 2002 compared to 1,422 students in 2012, according to Institutional Research.
Cavazos said she attended the university when it was named Southwest Texas State but left to work full time at her current job as a patient care coordinator. Cavazos continued to work at Austin Regional Clinic, after receiving an associate’s degree there, she said.
“(I came back to school) so I could advance with my current employer,” Cavazos said. “I was just constantly training people to be managers, but because I didn’t have a degree, I couldn’t advance or get the pay that they were getting.”
Cavazos now attends Texas State with her 20-year-old daughter, Anastacia Guerrero, communication design sophomore.
“A lot of people thought that I would be all embarrassed that she is here but it’s fine,” Guerrero said. “I hardly see her here anyways. It’s good to have her here. She is kind of showing me around too.”
Dock Hroch, 52-year-old accounting senior, met Cavazos two years ago through the Non-Traditional Student Organization. He said as older generation students, they are able to relate more than the average student and talk about bands and historical events that occurred during their generation.
“I believe Belinda is a fascinating individual,” Hroch said. “Going and quitting (college) a few times and now finishing—it’s impressive.”
Kate Seideman-Barclay, 30-year-old biology senior, said she formed a bond with Cavazos, and they often arrive to campus early to do last-minute homework or eat breakfast before class together.
Guerrero said her mother’s school life balances her home life out.
“At home she is always busy with me, my little sister and my stepdad,” Guerrero said. “Then here she is just with friends studying.”
While Cavazos credits her support system for her success in school, saying there are “no words I can use to describe it,” her friends and family credit her strength and resiliency.
“I think it is truly amazing that she has the strength and energy to continue her degree with everything else that is going on in her life,” Seideman-Barclay said. “It definitely takes a lot of determination and dedication to do what she does.”