These last two days have felt like fall is just around the corner. School supplies fill shopping carts, fall sports teams have taken to their practice fields, the pool will close in a couple of weeks, and soon the snow will begin to fly.

In today’s edition of The Press, reporter Mike Dunn spoke to a nontraditional student who will start classes at Sheridan College Monday. She’s seeking a degree in education so she can become a lead teacher at a preschool. She has a daughter, husband and full-time job. Going back to school won’t be easy.

But, the guts it takes to sign up for such a challenge after decades away from the classroom is something else.

Sheridan College has many nontraditional students. Some are veterans who served their country and are now returning to Sheridan to begin again. Others started careers or paths in one direction and have since discovered their passions lie in some other trade or craft.

In an economy like the one we’re facing today, some may also be individuals who have been laid off from jobs in the energy industry or any field touched by the downturn in economy.

What a challenge.

Yes, there are many in our community who are lifelong learners. They sign up for classes just for fun, not necessarily seeking any degree or certificate. They just want to hone a new skill. That, too, is admirable.

But studying after years of not having to is tough. Even if you read novels and non-fiction for fun, the task of reading multiple chapters in a terminology-filled textbook can be snooze-inducing to even the most dedicated student. Plus, self-motivation can be hard to find, especially when you didn’t necessarily want to leave the job you had and things like farmers markets and brewfests are marked on the calendar.

A lot of kudos should go out to nontraditional students. The road back to school isn’t easy and is likely full of potholes and barriers.

As I begin to gather my own school supplies for the fall semester — I love buying office and school supplies, along with stationery — I can’t help but admire those who choose to go back to school and not just continue a career but create a whole new one for themselves.

Sure, watching the little ones with their Scooby Doo — or is Pokemon in again? — backpacks makes me grin as well. But watching an adult, who likely is just as nervous as the kindergartner walking into school for the first time, walk through Sheridan College’s doors makes me think that we’ll get through this downturn just fine.

People are willing to step out of their comfort zones and try something new because Sheridan is where they want to be. To me, this means we can do anything.