"As a young black single mother of three children, I knew the odds were stacked against me. I did not want to be a statistic. I wanted to be able to provide a better life for my children. I knew an education would open doors for me to earn a higher income; start a career rather than just work a job; and have the flexibility to raise a family and work full-time.
"I've always been a pretty average person and always felt pretty mediocre at everything I did. I also had a tendency to start things and not finish them. When I first started school at a community college, I took several breaks—it took me eight years to earn an associate degree.
"When I completed my bachelor's here at Cornerstone, I had such a feeling of accomplishment that I actually achieved my goal and finished something that I started. I felt like I could do anything because I was able to overcome such a big hurdle in my life. Graduating with my bachelor's degree has been one of my greatest achievements. It was the first time I have been truly proud of myself."
Embrace a Mutual Experience
"I have first-hand experience of the program. I like to share that with my students to give them a real-life picture of what it looks like to go back to school as an adult. I share what it's like being a single parent and working full-time while going through the program and also how the format made it possible for me to earn a degree despite all of the challenges I was facing.
"I share my story with other people that are in similar situations and also with anyone who feels like they can't get through school because they have too much going on in their life. I encourage them and find what their true motivation is and use that to inspire them to stay positive as they go through their journey of higher education. If I can inspire someone else to be a better version of themselves and encourage people to achieve their goals, it makes all of what I went through worth it."