By Bonnie Dailey
After graduating high school, many adolescents struggle with the decision on whether to go to college. Some opt out of obtaining higher education right after high school, finding it more challenging to go back to school later in life, whether it is because of financial matters or time constraints. Money plays a big part in the decision, but according to 30-year-old, single mom and recent Nursing graduate, Therese Dialls, it shouldn’t be an excuse.
“There are scholarships available for everyone… there is even a scholarship for people who are left-handed,” Dialls said. “There are more ways to obtain money for higher education now than ever before, and as a single mom, I know the importance of budgeting.”
In addition to applying for scholarships, another way to afford classes is to work part-time or full-time, like 54-year-old Christy Pensinger did when she decided to start her college career at the age of 49.
“I had been laid off from my job and knew I had to do something to improve my family’s life,” Pensinger, a dual Bachelor degree graduate said. “I couldn’t get financial aid when I first started because I signed up too late. I had to drain my savings and raise my family on a very limited budget. My income came from little art projects I would paint and sell, and even babysitting in my free time.”
The common reason that both women decided to go back to school was for their children.
“I had plans for my son, and of course I wanted the best for him,” said Dialls. “I knew I couldn’t expect him to do anything that I had not done myself. I wanted to set an example and show him that going to college is always an option.” Dialls started to get her Nursing degree when her son was just a year old. Now at age 7, Dialls has completed the Nursing program and is on her way to getting her BSN and Doctorate. As a full-time mom, student and employee, Dialls is proud to say that she will never have to ‘work’ a day in her life because she is finally doing something she loves.
Mother of two, Pensinger decided to put herself first for the first time in her life. “I wanted my kids to be proud of me and the day they were able to see me walk across the stage [at graduation] was the best day of my life,” she recalls. Both of my sons are in college now, so I feel like I have led them in the right direction, and I have been able to help and support them in reaching their goals.”
After making the decision to go back to school, students are challenged with balancing education, family, work, and hobbies. Time management is important, and by setting priorities and maintaining a schedule, accomplishing goals is obtainable.
“I made time to hang out with my friends, take my son on play dates, and do things that I wanted to do, and I still graduated with honors,” said Dialls.
“It wasn’t easy. I was commuting an hour four days a week with so many other things on my plate,” said Pensinger. “But after taking that leap of faith and trusting the path that God had made for me, everything fell into place.”
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