It can be challenging to balance school, work, and family, but our Brightwood College students do it every day. In doing so, not only have they been able to pursue careers they love that help improve life for their families, but they also serve as inspiration to their children. Here are some of our favorite stories from Brightwood College students and graduates who prove that it is possible to go back to school — and that it is worth it.
Katie enrolled at Brightwood College hoping to create a better life for her son and for herself. Initially her fears held her back, and she ended up unenrolling. Three years later, however, Katie returned to Brightwood College and decided that if she did not take advantage of the opportunity now, she may never get another chance.
“My aunt's a nurse, so that’s what pushed me towards Medical Assisting,” says Katie. “At first I was so scared because I hated needles. I hated touching blood, and I said, ‘That's not for me,’ but I went in there and actually really liked it until we got to the phlebotomy part. I ended up leaving the classroom crying until my teacher, Ms. Miller – who I’ve since adopted as my grandmother – found me in the hallway and told me I could do it.”
Katie graduated from Brightwood College’s Medical Assisting program in November 2016 and the very next day started working as a school nurse. Her four-year-old son calls her a doctor, looking up to her as a role model. He even asked for a doctor kit for his birthday.
“Now when he has homework, he tells me, ‘OK, I'm going to do my homework just like you,’” says Katie. “For me, knowing that I was his role model is what kept me going. There were so many times I wanted to quit but I would see how he looked at me. As a single parent, I’m all he has, and I didn’t want him to see me quit and think that it’s okay. He was my main support and my main motivation.”
RaKeea enrolled in Brightwood College’s Dental Assistant program in August of 2016 and will graduate in May. Her support system is her son, Andrew.
“I already got my son a savings account,” says Rakeea. “His future is way important. Even though I am struggling trying to get there, he’s gonna get there way before me. I promise that.”
RaKeea stopped working this year while she went to school. Her husband has been paying all of the bills.
“If you come here, you won’t be mad unless you give up,” says RaKeea. “If you don’t believe in yourself, there isn’t any way you can do it, but if you have a little bit of hope, you can do it.”
Fredonia always wanted to be a nurse. It was a dream she never gave up on. She got married young, and by the time she turned 25, she had two children.
“Now I’m close to being married 20 years,” says Fredonia. “For years, I was all about my family, my husband and my children. I was a caregiver. I was at home, I home-schooled, I taught vacation Bible school, but I always knew I wanted to be a nurse.”
Fredonia enrolled in Brightwood College’s Licensed Practical Nursing program in October 2016 and will graduate this fall. After graduating, she plans to work as an LPN and even wants to go back to school to become an RN.
“Going back to school at 40 has taught me to appreciate education more than I would have in my 20s,” says Fredonia. “I don’t take it for granted because not everyone can go back to school. My kids love that I am in school! They always ask me if I finished my homework and what grade I got on my tests.”
Who says raising a family will keep you from having a career? Though challenging, being a mother and returning to school is possible and, as proven by these three driven women, incredibly rewarding. Brightwood College takes pride in working with each student and his or her individual situation, needs and schedule to make it possible to earn a diploma or degree.