From Your Fellow Non-Trad

Hello! I’m Tami. I am a non-trad. Meaning a non-traditional student.

Like, REALLY out of the traditional scope of the way things usually go.

The following words are my hand out to you. You, who may feel out of the ordinary. This is my story, for you.

We piled out of the van, stiff-legged, having driven from our Southern California home to the JBU college visit. It was the spring of 1984.  I fell in love with John Brown University and completed my freshman year in 1986-1987. Going home for that that summer of 1987, I was all geared up with a new major and a cool work study assignment. But, during the summer doubts and financial fears set in and, regretfully, I decided not to return. Then I got married. Then I had three children. Then thirty years and a whole lot of life and death went by.

In 2017, both my oldest daughter and my marriage died. In the darkest of all my days, God shined the light of a future and a hope down on my weeping head. He planted the thought that this was the time to return to my beloved JBU and finish what I started thirty years before. So, on Jan. 6, my parents (bless them) helped me move into my college apartment to start again, in the Spring 2019 semester. I am an English major in the Honors Study Program.

Is this scary? Yeah, a little.

Overwhelming? Some days, almost.

Worth it? Absolutely.

Now, more than before I know why I’m here. I had a reason for being here before, too, as does every student who pulls into that Admissions parking lot. If you are considering embarking on an out-of-the-box educational training season at John Brown University, I’m here to cheer you on. Be strong and courageous. Don’t ignore the whispers of direction you may hear. Take my hand, let me know when you arrive and I’ll buy you coffee or tea and be among the crowd of witnesses to remind you, there is a divine reason for your being here.

About the author

Tami Lykens

Tami Lykens writes for children and their big people. She is a full-time, undergrad English student at John Brown University. An idealist to a fault.


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  • Tami, you are the perfect example of how God can turn everything out for the good of the person who is called according to the purpose of God. YOU are that person in this case. Love you! ❤️

  • I love to hear that you are exactly where God wants you to be. I believe He will use you to touch lives as He draws you even closer to Himself. Your journey would give many reason to give up, doubt, or become a cynic. But thankfully you have continued to cling to our Savior and by doing so might just inspire others to do the same. (I know I was.) looking forward to hearing more about your non-trad journey at JBU!

  • I love you, Dear Friend and am so proud of you! You are truly a survivor and MORE THAN A CONQUEROR! God’s love and grace is all over you! This is going to be a great adventure! ❤️

  • I’m a fellow non-trad. I’m almost 30 years old with three kids my youngest was born in the middle of last semester! It’s tough but so worth it. I’m glad you’re here!

    • Hi Katie! Wow! You are amazing! Thank you for you warm welcome; I hope to have the chance to meet you. 🙂

  • I stumbled upon this and was delighted to read it. Go, Tami! You have so much talent, and so much to offer this place. Cheering you on!

  • Dear Friend and am so proud of you! You are truly a survivor and MORE THAN A CONQUEROR! God’s love and grace is all over you! This is going to be a great adventure! ❤️

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