Why I Did It: Moms Talk About Returning to School

mother hugging child

When you’re a kid, you might never notice the work mothers do and the sacrifices they make to give you a better life. You’re too young to know about mortgages or rent, so you don’t know the importance of getting to work on time, and why that means you have to be dressed and out the door every morning. At night, you might be asleep while your mother pays the bills or makes your lunch, and if your mom is in school, you might not see her up late at night trying to finish a paper in order to graduate on time.

According to the Institute for Women’s Policy Research (2014), women make up 71 percent of student parents – more than 2 million total -- and 43 percent of the student parent population are single mothers. That adds up to a lot of late nights, and much less “me” time than mothers deserve.

At Ashford University’s Spring 2016 Commencement, Forward Thinking asked several graduating moms why they went back to school, the sacrifices they made, and who they hoped to inspire by earning their degrees:

Kristen Afalla, Bachelor of Arts in Health Care Administration: “I want to show my son and daughter that it can be done, because it needs to be done.”

Heidi Ancar, Master of Arts in Organizational Management: “Being visually impaired, going back to school seemed impossible, but I wanted to set an example for my sons to know that, even with a disability or hindrance in life, it shouldn’t stop your education from happening, if you’re determined to get it.”

Casey Gulley, Bachelor of Arts in Child Development: “[My husband and I did it] so that we could be an example for our children -- we have an 8-year-old, a 4-year-old, and a 3-year-old – to show them that even though you’re older in life you can still get a college degree. What’s important is going back.”

Katrina Harvey, Master of Arts in Organizational Management: “I let [my daughter] know that education is one of the most important things that she could have in her life. Gone are the days when you’re able to get a good job without some formal education.”

Bobbie Mills, Bachelor of Arts in Psychology: “You just have to make time. You have to make sure that you’re gonna get that degree. You have to make sure that you sit down – whether it’s 10 o’clock at night or 2 in the morning – you have to get your studies done.”

Tamisha Murphy, Bachelor of Arts in Health Care Administration: “[I did it] to expand my skills and to better my finances, and to prove to my kids that even though I have kids and I’m working full time I can still get a degree.”

Add your own reasons to this list. Talk about why you went to school and those you hope to inspire at the Ashford University Facebook page.


Written by Jason R. Latham, Content Manager for Bridgepoint Education.


Institute for Women’s Research. Retrieved from https://www.luminafoundation.org/files/resources/college-students-raising-children.pdf

For more information about on-time completion rates, the median loan debt of students who completed each program, and other important information, please visit ashford.edu/pd.

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