Major: General Studies
Class Year: 2008
Marti, a wife and mother of three grown sons, always dreamed of having a college degree.
“I realized that, in my late forties, I still had unfulfilled dreams, and unless I did something about them, they would remain unfulfilled—and so would I.”
She called the Parkland College Adult Re-entry Center (ARC), where she discussed a plan to earn an associate’s degree in two years while working full time. She decided to go back to school, at 47, in January 2006.
“One of my biggest fears was that I would look stupid to all of the 18-year-olds who knew more about technology than I could hope to download into my brain. As a matter of fact, everyone was helpful, pleasant, and truly wanted to help me succeed.”
Marti says help from professors and encouragement from ARC Director Billie Mitchell kept her from giving up. An adult learner herself, Billie joined Parkland in 1988 as a secretary before earning her associate’s degree in 1994. She later earned the bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Eastern Illinois University.
“The first semester there, I just fell in love; it was wonderful. Almost every professor went out of his or her way to be sure I felt safe, encouraged, and confident in my abilities. Since I work full-time and care for others, sometimes it was hard to know what to do. Billie would calm me down and help me plan things out. I would get it all done.”
Marti earned the AA in General Studies in May 2008; something she was able to achieve in two years while working 45 hours a week.
She has enrolled at the University of Illinois-Springfield, where she plans to earn an online bachelor’s degree.
“Parkland has helped me make my dreams come true, literally. I no longer feel outdated or out of touch. I am more confident in myself and my abilities because I have been successful, thanks to Parkland.”