The following adult students were interviewed at the Annandale campus of Northern Virginia Community College and talked of why they came back to school and what they hoped to accomplish:

Lillie Wyatt, 50, of Fairfax: "I would like to work in a hospital or institution as a dietary assistant, so I'm studying to be a dietary technician in the hotel I and restaurant management program. I started the program last January and I hope to finish it in the spring."

Martin Cain, 29, of Manassas, draftsman and cabinet maker: "Right now I'm taking the principles of reas estate, but I've taken several other courses on and off. I've always taken courses that interested me, solar energy, principles of drafting. I'm not working towards any degree, it's just a chance to get out of baby-sitting once a week,'

Josephine Powers, 45, of Burke: "I never got the chance to go to college when I was young. I had to go out and work. Right now, I'm taking one course in American history. We just moved down from New Jersey. Once I get myself settled, I'd like to go here full time."

Don Noehre, 41, of Herndon: "I just retired from the military, and I am studying data processing. I have been in data processing for 15 years, and that is a very marketable skills. But still, everyone is looking for the degree. I already have a job as a data processor, so I figured it was easier coming here part time to start off."

Dick Wiley, 41, of Franconia, a service mechanic with Pepco: "I'm studying courses in business administration, and I plan to go on and get an associate's degree. It's something to do. It's trying to stay ahead of my kids. It's a combination of several things, but I guess the main thing would be seeking some education for additional advancement."

John Atkins, 30 of Alexandria: "I plan to open an accounting firm, so I'm studying accounting. Basically, I started here because it was the most convenient place for me to get my hours in. I own four bars and a couple of businesses, and I'm just taking time now to get my college degree. At this particular college, there is such a mixture of young people and old people that you always get lots of different views."