After high school I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do with my life, so I decided to go to a community college and work part time. At that age I was thinking more about making money than about education, so I quit school after only a year.
I started working as a secretary at Elmhurst College in 1997. Every year in my performance review, I was encouraged to go back to school. Eventually, I got a position that required a degree—even though I didn’t have one yet. I knew it was time to earn my degree, so in 2000 I enrolled in the Elmhurst Management Program. I later enrolled in the Managerial Communications Program too, graduating with a double major in 2005.
As a single mom, going to school while working full time was sometimes overwhelming. It helped that classes met one night a week here on site, and that they didn’t start until 6:00 p.m. My daughter was old enough at the time to be encouraging. When I had homework to do, she let me get my work done.
Part of the reason I went back to school was so my daughter could say with pride, “My mother is a college graduate.” I wanted to set a good example for her, too. She’s seen how hard it is to go back to school as a single mom, so she wanted to continue her studies right after high school and do something fulﬁlling with her life. She ﬁnished her bachelor’s at Elmhurst, took off a year, and went back to school for a master’s in social work. She plans to ﬁnish in May 2012. Recently she asked me, “Are you going to get your master’s?”
Right now I don’t have plans for graduate study, but I would like to in the future. For now, I’m just proud to have my bachelor’s degree.