Number of Children: 2 boys, ages 15 and 13
Married, Never Married, Divorced, Widowed? Married
College: Mt. San Antonio College
Dream Job/ Career Goals: My dream job is to be a college professor. My career goal is to obtain a Bachelor’s Degree in Chicano Studies, and my ultimate goal is getting my Master’s Degree.
“The road to achieving a degree is long and quite often
very challenging, but it is not impossible to do.”
Why did you decide to go to school? Ever since I can remember, I always wanted to go to college. For the past 19 years, I had taken classes here and there, but I never had the time to fully commit to going to college. About five years ago, I was laid-off from my job of seven years. After being unemployed for almost two years I was notified my children’s’ school was slated to be closed. I became politically active in the school district as a community organizer. Upon the urging of a parent that I met through my activism, I decided to take a couple of classes at Mt. SAC.
What was your biggest fear in terms of college? My biggest fear WAS not being able to graduate. Mid-way through at least the last four semesters at Mt. SAC I would think of quitting because I felt that going to college was a young person’s game. Yet each time I would log on to see my grades, that would give me the confidence to try for another semester and I eventually was able to graduate with an Associate in Science, Human Resource Management degree. My current fear while I am completing a couple of classes in order to transfer is that I am sacrificing my children’s education for my academic goals. My oldest son has a learning disability that requires my constant involvement and attention. Trying to get my son the help he needs to succeed and then having to make sure I maintain my GPA has been very stressful. Here I am excelling at school while my son is struggling through high school, makes me feel I am failing my son. My hope for my son is that he not be discouraged and use me as an example to never give up.
At your college are there a good amount of moms in your classes? I do believe there are a lot of moms in my classes. However, I feel that we are still a minority. What I do find is that there aren’t a lot of older students in my classes. I find that usually I am the oldest one in class or sometimes there may be two of us in class.
Do you associate with students who aren’t mothers? If so, how do you feel around them? I do associate with other students who aren’t mothers. I feel that other students, female or male, old or young, gay or straight have something to offer. Being around different types of students better prepares me for the working world by exposing me to their belief systems and their personalities. In a diverse world, we need to be able to navigate
What inspires/motivates you? My children, for the most part, motivate me. I want to be able to demonstrate to them that with hard work and determination they, too, can have the career of their dreams. However, what truly inspires me are other strong, independent women, especially moms. I see them as an example that we can have it all. The road to achieving a degree is long and quite often very challenging, but it is not impossible to do.
Tell me a little bit of your story: I grew up in a working-class family in Southeast Los Angeles. Both my parents had to work blue-collar jobs in order to make ends meet. However, my mother, a Mexican immigrant with a 6th grade education, always emphasized the importance of going to college. Unfortunately, I did not go to college right out of high school, instead I opted to get a job. I continued to work, but throughout the years I would take a college course or two because my desire to go to college was still within me. Finally in 2009 and after being unemployed for over a year, I decided to go back to college again. Towards the end of the Fall Semester in 2010, my husband lost his job as well. It was not until our funds were running low that I decided to apply for public assistance in order to be able to feed my children and help pay some bills. It was the most humbling experience of my life, but without food stamps and cash aid, we would have lost our home. Through the grace of God, we have faced these hard economic challenges all the while working towards my college education. Having had to apply for public assistance only strengthened my conviction to continue with my academic goals so that I can achieve my academic goal sot that I may then give back to my community.
Any advice for other mothers thinking about going/returning to college? My advice to other mother’s who are thinking of going/returning to college is that they may want to take only 2 classes the first semester in order to get into the swing of things. Enrolling full-time along with the responsibilities that come with being a mother will definitely be overwhelming. Drop dates are now occurring earlier in the semester and at the risk of failing or have a W on your transcript having a full load of classes may not prudent. Once enrolled, seek out programs such as EOPS (Extended Opportunity Program and Services), DSP & S (Disabled Student Programs and Services), Veteran’s Services, ACES (Achieving in College, Ensuring Success) or any number of student support services. Each one of these programs provide valuable resources that can help busy mom’s achieve their academic goals.
Thank you so much Adriana for sharing your story. You are such an inspiration and I am looking forward to watching you further your education!!
If you are a mom in college (or were a mom in college) and would like to share your story, please e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org