Jessica currently working with her Success Coach to get her B.A. in rehabilitative sciences with a focus on addiction support.
Q. Did you consider going back to college after the first time you dropped out?
Not until my son was 2 years old. I was determined to get my degree so I could get a better job and make more money. My financial issues just got too much between college and daycare, so I quit and took a 7-year hiatus from school.
Q. What did you do during your 7-year break from college?
I worked to pay the bills. Things got better financially. A few years later I got married. We bought our first house together a year after we married. Everything was great. We were both working until my husband injured himself falling from a roof while doing repairs. He spent 3 weeks in the hospital. The bills were growing. After 10 surgeries, we had over a million dollars worth of medical bills. It was overwhelming. I knew I had to make more money but didn’t know what path to take.
Q. When did you decide to go back to school?
With all the medical bills and other debt building up, I decided I needed to go back to school to finish my degree at a local community college. I completed my associate degree in 2 years. I even made the Dean’s List. Right after that things went really bad. My mom overdosed on pills and I had to take care of her and my husband and child. My plate was full. I never thought I’d do any more college.
Q. What made you take the next steps to getting your bachelor’s degree?
I got a job at the Clarion Psych hospital in 2013. The people there were wonderful and I knew I wanted to help people with addiction because addiction runs in my family. They referred me through an assessment program, and I enrolled at Carion College to get a B.A. in rehabilitative science with a focus in addiction in the fall of 2014. However, I withdrew a year later because I was having serious marital issues. I ended up getting divorced. The stress was too much. I was really at a low point then, plus I was over $30,000 in debt with student loans with nothing good to show for it.
Q. How are you working with ReUp?
With the help of my ReUp Readmissions Coordinator, Cody, I’ve re-enrolled in school. Cody has helped me figure out I have 57 credits left to complete my degree, which is about 2.5 years. Then he helped me factor in all my other life commitments. He showed me how to get my transcripts, register and re-enroll. He showed me all these resources to help get my finances in order, come up with a budget, and apply for grants. There was just so much to do, and it was overwhelming just thinking about it! I couldn’t have done it without my coach. No, I know I wouldn’t have done it without Cody!
Q. What goals have you set for yourself after you complete your degree program?
My goal is to graduate and move to an area with more job opportunities. Where I live now there are mostly factory jobs. I’m a different person than I was 14 years ago. My son is 16 now. Things are a lot different, and I’m ready to finish school so I can get my degree and get a better job making more money. I know I can do that now because of Cody! And that’s something I never thought was ever gonna happen ... not in a million years!