Liberadzki overcomes adversities, finds new path as non-traditional student

Leslee Liberadzki is a non-traditional student at Bluffton University. She was working full time at a local bank and had been for 10 years but decided to quit her job to go back to college full time to study speech language pathology and audiology.

Liberadzki said someone referred her to the Center for Career and Vocation at Bluffton University to help her narrow down a career that would fit her. After taking the StrengthsFinder inventory, Liberadzki found speech language pathology and audiology on a list of potential majors she would enjoy. Because it was a newer program at Bluffton University, she took that as a sign of direction.

Taking this leap was not easy for Liberadzki; her situation was a large part of what led her to this point.

“My circumstances include being a newly divorced, single parent, living in my mom’s house and not being able to support myself or my daughter without assistance and that became painfully obvious to me this last year,” said Liberadzki. “I want more for myself and more for my daughter.”

With this new path of life, Liberadzki said her first week of classes was more difficult than she anticipated.

“Emotions were high, and as crazy as it sounds, my only goal was to just make it through one day where I didn’t cry for some reason or another,” said Liberadzki.

Her main adjustments include carrying a backpack everywhere, going from class to class and finding where she fits on campus as she feels out-of-place from those around her.

Liberadzki cited her sister’s attendance at and love for the university as the driving force behind her decision to study at Bluffton. She also felt a connection with people she interacted with, and that made it easy to choose Bluffton.

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Kiera Suffel

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