A Day in the Life of a Potomac State College Nontraditional Student



Nontraditional student Matthew Thomas finds time to balance his school work as well as life. Photo by Cody Brazil

“The biggest limitation I would say is time. Being a nontraditional student is definitely a practice of time management. Everybody takes something as simple as mowing your lawn for granted, but when you’re putting in a 60 hour week it becomes something you really wish you had time for,” said Matthew Thomas, a 46-year-old Potomac State College student.

Thomas is a registered respiratory therapist and the full-time manager of the Respiratory Therapy Department at the Hampshire Memorial Hospital. He decided to return to college for career advancement, as well as personal achievement.

Thomas believes that he’d never be able to balance school with his job and personal life alone. He has the full support of his wife of 25 years, as well as his 23-year-old daughter Madeline and his 19-year-old daughter Jordan.

“I really couldn’t be doing this without my daughters. Madeline has her degree in English so I like to get her to proofread my papers. She likes to make fun of my grammar so it works out,” said Thomas.

Thomas believes that the hardest part of balancing his school, work and personal life has been time management. In addition to his homework and studying he is responsible for maintaining his home and taking care of his elderly parents. He is also expected to cover extra shifts, so there can be some overlap in schedules. Luckily for him, it doesn’t happen too often.

“I’ve found that as I grow older, my attention span grows shorter, but my priorities have always been my family,” explained Thomas.

Thomas said that scheduling has never really been a problem for him while earning his degree, but he has had problems with his willpower and focus. In his current stage of life, Thomas has the time and the means to do more activities with his wife, so school is not his main focus.

“I do not regret any of the choices I’ve made. If I could go back and do it again then I think I would have absolutely gotten my degree earlier– certainly before having children. But I cherish my family, and I have a great job. So I am pretty happy where I am, but my advice for traditional students is focus on your studies and earn your degree.”

Thomas said that he hopes earning his Regents Bachelor of Arts (RBA) degree may help him work in the field at a corporate level.

Thomas added, “The years in college are short, and they really do help form who you are as an adult. I would also say that grades are not everything, and learning is not just done in the classroom; experience as much as you can and take in the moments, good and bad, because time, well, time likes to fly away.”

Humans of Potomac State


Natalie 2.jpg“One day my friends randomly invited me to compete in the Hampshire County Fair Pageant. I won the title of Miss Hampshire County Fair. Once you win that title it is kind of mandatory that you become a contestant for the Miss West Virginia Pageant. Although I did not win, I got to make a lot of great connections, and I had the chance to make a difference in the state. I would say my personal favorite part of competing was getting to visit the West Virginia public schools. I currently study political science and hope to work with legislatures in the future. I created a non-profit to benefit veterans, and I really want to explore that aspect of it all.”

Interview by Cody Brazil, Editor

Humans of Potomac State

Trucker man.jpg

“I’ve spent my entire life in Moorefield, and I crave something new. I really want to just go out and see the entire continental United States, but I don’t really have the means to do it. I’m kind of thinking of becoming a truck driver after I’m done here. I’ll get to get paid and have a better chance of achieving my dream. I one day hope to have a postcard from every single state.”

Interview by Cody Brazil, Editor

Humans Of Potomac State


Photo By: Cody Brazil

“I am originally from Morgantown. I came here because I just wanted a little change of scenery. A lot of people who grew up in Morgantown end up going to college there, and end up living there for the rest of their lives. I do plan on graduating from WVU, but I wanted to experience something a little bit different first. I do miss it though. It gets really quiet here on the weekends. I’ve even started going home almost every weekend because I would just be sitting in my dorm. But I’ve made some good friends while I’ve been here, so it hasn’t been all bad.”

Interview by: Cody Brazil, Editor

Humans of Potomac State


Photo By: Cody Brazil

“I’m originally from Washington D.C.

I like Potomac State okay, but the campus can be a little boring. It was more of my mom and grandma’s decision for me to come here; I wanted to go to Florida Memorial University. I’m majoring in criminal justice and am interested in becoming a police officer in Washington D.C. after I graduate. My ultimate goal in the career path would be to either eventually be the chief-of-police or maybe a lieutenant. I just really want to help people.”

Interview by: Cody Brazil, Editor

Humans of Potomac State


Photo By: Cody Brazil

  “I was homeschooled before college. I can’t say I loved it, but I did get to sleep in later than my friends, so I did enjoy that. I never really wished I went to a traditional school either because I was allowed to go to dances and other events. I think I want to be an astronaut when I’m done with school. I think it would be great to just float around in space and listen to music. I’m a huge fan of the “Guardians of the Galaxy” movies if you couldn’t tell. Right now I’m majoring in general education, but I think I’ll switch to aerospace engineering when I transfer to Morgantown.”

Interview by: Cody Brazil, Editor

Landau Eugene Murphy Returns to Keyser


The lights dim as the audience sits quietly in anticipation. The band swiftly rushes to their seats to prepare their instruments. Suddenly, the saxophone starts to play as Landau Eugene Murphy Jr. energetically takes the stage to do what he loves.

On Saturday, Sept. 30, Murphy returned to Potomac State College for a third year to sing for the students and citizens of Keyser. As a native of Logan, West Virginia Murphy rose to fame after winning the sixth season of “America’s Got Talent.”  After his big win, Murphy secured a one-year contract to headline at Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas.

Murphy kicked off the concert with his rendition of Frank Sinatra’s “Come Fly With Me.” The audience couldn’t stay in their seats as he sang other jazz classics. Murphy was very good at interacting with the audience. He was always quick with a joke between each of his songs.

Murphy ensured that each member of his band was given credit throughout the concert. He even gave them time to perform solos.

Murphy was joined on stage by the music group LCB (Leonard, Coleman and Blunt.) The band consists of Glenn Leonard (former singer for The Temptations,) Joe Coleman (former lead singer for The Platters) and Joe Blunt (former lead singer for The Drifters.)   The members of LCB are lifelong friends who decided to put together their band after retiring from their respective former groups. The musical trio performed many Motown classics.

“The show was really good. It’s not the type of music I’d normally listen to, but I think I might give it a try,” said PSC student Joshua Rubin.