After exiting high school in the 10th grade and later earning her GED, Cathy focused on raising her children and working. Below, she tells Gen1Grad why she decided to go back and how she is making it work.
What made you go back to school now? Working at a place of Higher Education (here at TAMU) resurfaced the need to further my education. Having a supervisor that related to my situation, and encouraging me to go back to school.
What have been some challenges in going back to school? Time management is the biggest challenge. I returned with three small children, ranging from toddler to early elementary. Trying to balance full time employment, parenting responsibilities and school work is difficult. My grades are not what they could or should be but parenting responsibilities and work take priority.
What have been some of the highlights of going back? Learning. I enjoy Sociology the most, and love learning new ways of thinking about society or cultures. I like sharing some of what I am studying with my family.
Why was it so important for you to go back to school? It was so important because higher education was never really important or achievable to anyone in my family. 1 of 6 kids, and NONE of us graduated from high school, neither did our parents. You go to school until you can legally quit, then you get a job. That was the expectation and very common among Hispanic, low income families.
What advice would you give to someone else he was going back to school a little later in life? I would advise them to really invest in a time management tool, whether it be electronic or hard copy like a planner. Plan ahead as much as you can and prepare for life’s interruption because they happen frequently. Make the decision to not stop, no matter what comes your way. Take advantage of the student resources offered at school, like advising, counseling, and meeting with professors if you find yourself struggling in a class.
Is there anything you would like to add? I’m currently a Junior, just taking 6 hours a semester but, the older the kids have gotten, the harder it seems to devote time to school work. It really is difficult but they know how important it is to me and just including them by opening discussion at home when it’s affecting my grades seems to help. They become more aware of my “study time” and seem to be more helpful around the house during finals.
Wow! Great job Cathy. We are rooting for you and wish you nothing but success. You are an inspiration to people who are contemplating going back to school.