After 12 years away from school, Cherie Watkins said getting back into the mindset of a student was "a process." Finding time and space to study and do homework was nearly impossible.
"I locked myself in the room, but that wasn't enough. So I got in the car, and that wasn’t enough. So I drove the car down the street but, when my family saw or my friends see, they’re like, ‘Hey, what you doing?’ you know? So I drove the car around the corner, parked the car, I'm by myself, I'm studying."
Now a vocational nurse graduate, Watkins has been working as an in-home health care worker for the past six months. At a recent Inspire Club meeting at American Career College-Lynwood, she shared with group that she had recently taken her family on a vacation to New York. She said graduating with her vocational nurse certificate and becoming licensed was hard, but she never would have been able to take her family on their summer vacation — or move into her own place — if she had quit on her education.
"It really kind of taught me about excuses. It would have been easy for me to say, 'Look, I can't do school because I need to spend this time with the kids,'" she said, "but if I did that then my life wouldn't have changed and we would have still been — all of my children and myself and my husband at my mom's house with everybody else that was there — my brother, my cousins, everybody. And because of that, even they look at me like, 'Oh Cherie, you got your own four-bedroom.'"
Watkins said her mom was really proud of her going back to school and once Watkins graduated, her mom decided to return to work as well. Watkins said she feels like she's come really far since going back to school and ACC's accelerated program helped her focus on what was most important.
"It was a long time in the sense of from where I started to where I ended. It could have turned into a different way. It could have worked out a different way, but because I did this it worked out perfectly," she said.
ACC cannot guarantee employment. Programs vary by campus. The views and opinions expressed are those of the individuals and do not necessarily reflect the beliefs or position of the school or of any instructor or student. For graduation rates, median debt of graduates completing this program and other important information, visit americancareercollege.edu/disclosures.
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