Tassels are turning! It’s especially exciting and for adults who went back to college to finish what they started years earlier. This May, we celebrate the graduates who have achieved their degrees… and a whole lot more.
Everyone who finishes college deserves to be recognized and celebrated, but for adults who go back to school, graduation is especially poignant.
These people didn’t follow the stereotypical route: finish high school, go to college, graduate in 4 years. Sure, this is what we expect, but in reality, there are many different paths to degrees.
We’ve talked with college students who took a nontraditional approach to finishing college. These people did some college classes at some point, and maybe even had a lot of credits completed. Life got in the way, and they didn’t finish their degrees, but eventually they felt the pull to FINISH what they had started in the past.
Each person has a different story, but they have important things in common at their graduation: joy, pride, accomplishment, and value of the example they are setting for their family and community.
Here’s what they have to say!
Celebrating our Grads!
“I’m the perfect example. You don’t have to limit yourself. You can go back, finish your degree, and get a better job. Don’t give up on your dreams. This is the lesson I want to help my kids to learn.” –Kim Sims (Kim was the first in her family of nine siblings to earn a college degree.)
“After working in the corporate world for many years, I was becoming tired of just being a Social Security number. I decided to take a leap of faith and pursue my dream of having a degree and becoming a nurse.
“It’s so uplifting. I have a degree now, and I completed it while working full-time and being a wife and mother. I’m living proof that it’s NEVER too late to go back to school. I never saw myself going back, but I will forever be happy that I did!” –Elizabeth Yates
“You’ll be surprised how strong you can be. I wanted to show my children that when things get hard, you just keep pushing and work harder.” –Rosa Hall
“I’m so grateful to everyone. How great is a program that makes it possible for a father to graduate with his daughter? This is the start of a new family tradition– where everyone gets a college degree.” –Thomas Coleman (Coleman graduated from college on the same day as his daughter!)
“I know there are so many other people out there just like me. I know what it’s like to feel like you’ve worked so hard, but don’t have a degree to show for it. I’m so proud of myself. I did it. You can too.”
“I am now able to check the box next to ‘College Graduate’ when prompted for education level. It feels SO good! Best of all, I feel like a great role model for our kids. Their mom is a college graduate.” –LaShawnda Clay
“Everybody needs coaching. Whether you’re playing football or trying to be the first kid in your family to finish college,” said Fahn Cooper. “I’m very thankful to the C2C people who gave me the coaching and support I needed. Thanks to them, I finally get to say I finished. I earned my degree, and the feeling is euphoric.”
“My degree shows the fortitude I have. It makes me a distinguished man. An educated man.” –Fahn Cooper (Cooper played football in college and the NFL. He had stopped his college studies when he was just 9 credits away from a degree but thanks to C2C he graduated with his bachelor’s degree)
“At first, I didn’t want to walk across the stage for graduation. But then my C2C Coach kept on me – she asked me – ‘Don’t you think your kids want to see you walk across that stage?’ And I did. I can’t expect my kids to do something that I haven’t done. So, I got over my fears and walked across that stage.” –Jemeika Jones
“I dreamt of a degree for two reasons – first, to serve as an example for my kids, and second, because I felt I needed it to be considered an equal by the people I was doing business with. And I actually did it… I’m living proof that you’re never too old to do great things.” –Zetella Gooch
“…I have already been blessed with a new career that will lead to financial freedom for me, my family, and generations to come… It is never too late to finish.” –Stephanie Long
“It felt great to hear my wife say she’s proud of me, and the smile on my kids’ faces was priceless.” –Kierre Rimmer (Kierre always wanted to go back to college so that he could set an example for his community. However, “fear and feeling unworthy” kept Kierre out of college for a while. Here’s his story of overcoming!)
“Don’t give up on your dream. Anything worth having will be difficult, but once you have your education, nobody can take that from you.
“It felt great to walk across the stage and graduate Magna Cum Laude. C2C can make this possible for you.” –Segunna Mixon
This sense of pride that starts on graduation day lasts into the future!
We’re celebrating the 2022 grads but also their graduation attitude. We’re proud of you for your accomplishments and look forward to seeing how you will use your degrees to make positive change for your futures, your families, and your communities wield this in their futures! Congratulations.
Could you be next?
As LaShawnda Clay shares: “I know there are lots of other people like me who are sitting on all those credit hours, but still don’t have a degree. And I hope my story helps someone in a similar situation. Don’t let anything stop you. You can do this. Look into C2C. It’s so worth it.”
Complete 2 Compete (C2C) is a statewide program that helps adults return to college to finish their degrees at any of Mississippi’s 24 public universities and community colleges. Along with grant money, the program provides coaches who help students finish their degrees more quickly and efficiently. Thousands of adults qualify for the program. To find out if you could finish your degree with the help of C2C, complete this brief survey to start your journey to graduation!