I was always trying to figure out a way to get back to school to earn my degree, and I just couldn't figure it out. My life was so demanding and by the time I got home, I was just tired. But people have said that if I can do it, they can do it -- and now everybody is going for it. Every time I turn around, another one of my friends decides to go to college. It’s never too late -- some of them are older than me, some are younger than me. It’s really great.
Realizing Her Dream
Giving back has always been a part of my life. From my job as a special education classroom assistant, to taking care of my family, to participating in my church and community, I’ve always been happy to help others. But when I had the opportunity to earn my college degree by joining the School District of Philadelphia’s Parent University, it was my chance to help myself.
Health issues and family commitments stopped me from attending college after high school, so I began a career as a special education classroom assistant for the School District of Philadelphia and began raising my family. I became the president of my local Home and School Association, where I served for 13 years. It was through this position that I learned of the Parent University program. The timing was ideal, as my four children were now older and I could devote more of my time to my studies. "When I earned my associate degree, I already knew I was going to continue my journey to earn my bachelor’s degree."
I applied to the Parent University program, was accepted and spent the next three years working full time, taking care of my family and going to class a few nights a week. To help me balance my responsibilities, I attended a lot of workshops that were interesting to me, especially ones on time management and writing essays. They really kept me going. I would bring a lot of the material back to the cohort [of other Parent University students] and we would learn from them together.
I was experiencing many hardships while obtaining my associate degree and still maintained a high GPA. In 2013, I was selected as Peirce's Distinguished Student at the Spring Reception - the first student to receive this award.
When I earned my associate degree, I already knew I was going to continue my journey to earn my bachelor’s. I enrolled in the Business Administration program with a concentration in Professional Studies, which I plan to use to apply to a graduate-level education program as well as pursue my goal of owning a daycare and tutoring facility.
I suggest that all adult learners go after their goals and their dreams to earn their degree. You should familiarize yourself with the college where you’re going and be aware of what is offered -- support, resources, etc. And then volunteer -- get involved with the college so you can inspire others and pass your knowledge along.
Adult students are going through a lot of the same things. Some people are a little skeptical or intimidated by returning to college. But when they find out that somebody has gone through the same thing, they want to ask questions and get advice. I’ve noticed that hearing how I did it helps ease them into the college experience, and they want to do the same thing I did.