Students on alternative timelines

by Beacon Staff • October 12, 2005

There are many students at Emerson, like Lewis, who have taken time off from academia either before or after starting college.,"Jerome Lewis looks like your average college student. He wears track pants and sneakers to class and listens to his iPod. But Lewis is actually 39 years old and an investor in two major radio stations in his native country of Trinidad and Tobago.

There are many students at Emerson, like Lewis, who have taken time off from academia either before or after starting college.

This summer and fall, Emerson readmitted 60 undergraduate students who took a leave of absence for two years or less, according to Stephanie Driscoll, assistant director of Academic Advising. She said that many study abroad through programs at other universities, while others leave for "personal, medical or family emergenc[ies]."

"I left for romantic reasons," said Aubree Lawrence, now a graduate student studying media arts. Lawrence also attended Emerson as an undergraduate, but left the Boston area after only one semester to live and work closer to her boyfriend. "Four years later, we broke up, so I got a job at Emerson so they would pay for me [to finish my bachelor's degree]," she said.

There are many different motives for leaving school and just as many reasons to return. Russell Cornelia, a junior political communications major, is a second lieutenant in the Army National Guard. After high school, he completed an associate's degree in architectural engineering at New England Tech and later joined the military. He said at the time, "I was more interested in civil service than my own education." But Russell decided to return to school because a bachelor's degree was required to advance to the rank of captain, and he already had 78 Emerson equivalent credits from his previous degree.

Lewis, a sophomore broadcast journalism major, has 13 years of radio experience on his r