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  • Writer's pictureAliya

How a Single Mom of Two Earned Her College Degree

Social media is commonly the gateway into our friends and acquaintances lives, enlightening us to other’s life milestones that we would have no way of otherwise knowing. It was Instagram that alerted me to my high school classmate DeNiesha’s journey to get her degree while raising her kids. Observing her Instagram stories and posts, I would often find myself thinking: “Going through college while working and raising two kids… how does she do it?”

So, I decided to ask her! And she was generous enough to answer.

First things first: What degree did you receive?

I received my B.S. in Information Technology

When and why did you decide to go back to school?

I originally went back to school after giving birth to my son in 2008. I went through a series of deciding what career path I should take. I studied for the real estate exam and passed. Eventually, I decided that wasn’t where my passion was, and went to El Camino College for my GEs so that I would be able to obtain by Bachelor’s degree. I previously received my Associated from FIDM in Merchandise Marketing.

Looking back, what was the most challenging thing you went through while juggling being a parent, student, and working full time?

The most challenging thing is finding the time. It was difficult to dedicate that time to achieve the GPA I desired. There were many times that I sacrificed doing things as a mom to be able to get the degree. Ultimately, my goal was to provide a better lifestyle for my children.

What was the most rewarding thing you experienced in your back-to-school journey?

Making my children proud. I was in school when pregnant with my youngest and to still be able to finish and have them see me walk the stage was my most rewarding moment. They asked after I completed my degree if that meant I can spend more time with them. And now, I am able to be more involved with them.

What surprised you in your journey to earn your degree?

My ability to overcome my obstacles. I lost my grandfather, had a child, lost a job, suffered a divorce. All that and I was still able to achieve this goal in the end.

Did you talk about your school experiences with your kids?

All the time. I only slept about 2-4 hours a night trying to obtain this goal. So they were very much aware that I was running low on energy. There were very understanding and they asked me about things that I was learning. So they were aware of tests and paper deadlines, and during those moments, they would intuitively crowd me. It was interesting! So I would sit on the couch or at my desk and they would hover over me to see what I was doing. But eventually, they would get bored and move on.

What was a typical day like for a working mom and student?

Wake up. Get myself and the kids together. Prepare lunch. Commute to work. Work 8 hours. Commute to get my children. Rush through dinner, baths, and homework, and then begin doing my own homework. Every single day! Weekends were all about homework. I’d take the kids somewhere here and there to be sure they weren’t always stuck in the house.

What advice would you give to women with children that are considering enrolling in school?

Prepare yourself mentally and spiritually. It’s going to be a long ride, but it’s worth it. Everyone has obstacles and it’s just a matter of not allowing them to detour you. Just breathe deep and dive into it with a plan. Be sure you have a great support system as well. But even if you don’t, you still got it!

Thanks so much DeNiesha, and congrats on earning your degree. You’re an inspiration!


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