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Meet E. She is a single mom, and currently has a daughter attending Mohave Community College. She is also currently pursuing her own Bachelor’s degree, almost 30 years after graduating from high school.
E started off her higher education career at a small community college in California. It was the 80s, and she had just graduated high school. Initially, she had a full load of classes, but eventually trickled down to a class or two every semester.
“I may have skipped a semester here or there, but I was consistently taking 1 or 2 classes because I was working full time. I was a Liberal Arts major,” she said, “The last class I took there, I was pregnant. I was 28.”
When asked about why she stopped, she responded, “I had kids. Suddenly, you’re getting married and having a kid, and your priorities change. It wasn’t that I was going to wait so long to go back to school, it just worked out that way. And I had a problem of narrowing down what it is I wanted to do. I didn’t want to go back to college until I really had a clear idea of what I wanted to get a degree in. I just wanted to find my dream job.”
At that point, E had attained roughly 30 college credits. Ten years passed, and she decided she wanted to go back, this time pursuing a degree in technology.
“I wanted a better job. I worked a lot of clerical jobs, and I was not fulfilled doing clerical,” she commented, “I loved computers. It wasn’t work to me – it was fun. I had been working on other computers for family and friends, and I wanted to be trained in that skillset.”
She decided to do online classes through a local community college. I asked her why she decided on that particular venue.
“I was busy. I had family to take care of, so online was easier. And, honestly, I was feeling too old. I was close to 40, and I didn’t want to look out of place.” I then asked about her reasons for attending a community college over a four year university.
“Cost! It was cheaper. Not only that, but I was already in the community college mindset. I wanted to at least finish out an associate’s degree.”
She eventually graduated from Community College of Southern Nevada with an Associate’s Degree of Applied Science with an emphasis in Computer Information Technology.
E is now pursuing a Bachelor’s Degree from Thomas Edison State University. She is set to graduate by the end of this year.
This is a story shared by many others. Nowadays, more and more individuals past typical college age are going back, seeking different career paths or simply bumps in pay.
“I don’t think we’re ever too old to learn things,” E offered, “A lot of people may love what they do initially, and then decide they want to do something different. Go back to school and learn it!”
E now uses her experiences as a teaching lesson for her own children, encouraging them to get an education now while they are still in the learning mindset.
“I never want my kids to feel stuck or feel they can’t have whatever opportunity they want. It makes life much easier to have your own independence and be self-sufficient. That’s what an education gets you.”
“I actually decided [I wanted to go back to college] a couple years before I did, and someone discouraged me from doing it,” she added, “Never discourage someone from wanting to better themselves and get an education, because starting is half the battle. Just start. Do something. Make the progress.”
Mohave Community College offers more than 60 Associate Degrees and Certificates, and currently serves roughly 13,000 students across 4 campuses and a distance education program. Head to mohave.edu to apply today!
Adriana Petrungaro, MCC Student Blogger
Lake Havasu City Campus