In the fourth episode of “Going Back to College with Hengame Abassi,’’ Hengame talks to Nico Grierson, a 46-year old musician in the music education program at CSUN, who is also a French-English interpreter and yoga teacher.
It has taken Grierson a long time to pursue her degree in music.
Even though she played music as a child, Grierson did not know what she wanted to do when she was in high school and felt out of place.
Grierson’s parents are Canadians, so she always identified more with her Canuck side and was friends with international students, so she spent a year in a foreign exchange program in France.
When she returned to the U.S., she experienced reverse culture shock and wanted to go back to Europe, so she dropped out of CSUN before the start of her sophomore year in 1993.
Grierson was worried about coming back to CSUN. She initially felt maybe they would not take her back but soon found the university to be a safe place for her to be reintegrated into academic life and to explore her talents.
She credits the professors with her academic success because of how accommodating they have been. Grierson was having problems with organization and the steep learning curve of going back to college later in life, so her professors suggested she visited the Disability Resources and Educational Center where she got tested and discovered she was on the Autism spectrum. She has received help from the center even since.
Grierson plans to apply for a master’s degree in library and information science at UCLA so she can become a music librarian.
Hengame Abassi is going back to college. She is a non-traditional student: a student at the end of her 60s. Originally from Iran, Abassi was a nurse and reporter who had to flee political persecution while pregnant and lived in Germany for over 20 years before immigrating to the United States. She has hosted Iranian TV and radio shows in the U.S. and is currently a senior at CSUN, double majoring in linguistics and journalism. In “Going Back to College,” Hengame talks to other non-traditional students like herself.