By NVC Student Evangelina Ramirez
Returning to school for my degree at age 48 has not been easy.
When I first became a college student at age 18 life was simple. I came to school and went home to momma’s house. I never had to worry about rent or mortgage, car payments, car insurance groceries, and dog walks. Not to mention, the full-time job and part time jobs I have now.
Fast forward 30 years and after serving 14 years in prison and starting all over from a recent divorce, I find myself searching for every opportunity to study and do my class work between trying to make ends meet.
Before the semester started, I made a very questionable decision to join a kickboxing class that I would pay for semi-weekly. I have made four classes since October 2021. Prioritizing time for me is now a daily task. And going home to Austin to be with family is a great feat with my schedule.
However, my career and my education are very important to me therefore, I am willing to accept the sacrifice of minimizing my extra-curricular free time to ensure I am focusing on what is important to me. Life’s curve balls are tough to juggle, however, I have found a way in every situation. I’m focused on striving to do better for myself and to continue to grow as a person.
It’s important for me to meet with my advisor to make sure that I stay on track with my class requirements. If I had to figure out my plan myself, I probably wouldn’t graduate for five years on a two-year program. You would think being an adult coming back to school would be so much simpler. Some of the obstacles I have encountered are financial hardships.
Since I am an adult with adult responsibilities, I must work. A full-time job is not enough. Then there are the bills that I am responsible for because I am my sole provider. After working my eight-to-five, I head over to my 5:30 to 9 p.m. gig every Monday through Thursday. On weekends, I dabble in Door Dash for a few extra bucks. I am grateful to have friends and family that think of me and sometimes drop a dinner meal off for me on my doorstep to my apartment so I will not have to cook. Those evenings are the best.
Before I became a student, I adopted a rescue pet named Andy. Andy has been my sidekick for six years. He requires a lot of attention but is very understanding and loving nonetheless. With the addition of my new Chihuahua terrier, Abby, they have become my fur babies and give me joy, but I have to make sure I walk them in the morning and come home at lunch to let them out and then head out to my second job.
I always keep my laptop on and ready on my desk for slow moments when I can get back to the homework. Once 5:30 pm hits, I am off to my next destination. It seems overwhelming at times, but I do know that I am proud of pushing myself every day. Some days are harder than others but, the final outcome will be a great accomplishment that I will feel good about.