By Natasha Langford
I can finally see the light at the end of the tunnel of this journey that started four years ago. It is exciting to know I have less than 16 school weeks until I graduate from Ivy Tech Community College Columbus.
College has helped me grow personally and professionally, and for that I am thankful. Once I earn my degree, doors will open — some not possible without the degree.
I remember seeking a new career opportunity via the internet, knowing I would be 99 percent qualified for positions. I was missing one requirement, though, a degree.
After studying at another university, I came to Ivy Tech as a transfer student. There were moments I thought completion would never happen: tear-filled evenings of studying, writing, and days when I felt completely defeated. There have also been moments of incredible laughter, ah-ha moments and a great sense of accomplishment.
When I started my college journey, I made it to one class before my childhood friend and child care provider and I got the flu. At the same time, my mom was diagnosed with melanoma, an aggressive skin cancer. I opted to postpone college to help my mother. I am so glad we caught this early enough and she will watch me graduate in May.
When I decided to try college again a year later, my husband and I found out a few weeks prior to classes starting that I was expecting my fourth child. I didn’t care what I had to do, I was not going to give up on this dream. I could make a million excuses to not start now, or create a million opportunities to be successful. Pregnant and keeping up with the other three little ones, catching the flu yet again and working full-time, I survived.
I wanted to register for the next semester, but my adviser never returned my inquiries. Frustrated, I remembered Ivy Tech Columbus Campus President Steven Combs talking to me about Ivy Tech. I made a call to meet with financial aid specialist Laveena Rebber. She made me feel welcomed and she continues to encourage me.
Looking back at my Ivy Tech experience, I remember the amazing instructors during this journey. I was afraid of taking math, yet assistant professor Phil Hammersley made me feel confident. He helped me think through the math problems I struggled with, never making me feel bad when I said something wrong. I was fortunate to have him for two math classes in back-to-back semesters. I would not have made it this far without him.
I look back at the writing classes I took, and how engaging assistant professor Patrick Nevins was as he continued to help me grow as a creative writer, even when I felt ridiculous writing poetry. His writing exercises made me think outside of my creative boundaries, expanding the detail in my stories, creating more effective imagery, and bringing about a sense of accomplishment in my work.
Those were just a couple of the professors who were influential in the completion of my degree. There have been other experiences that filled my time at Ivy Tech: passing grades on tests, enjoying writing and reading stories, tears and laughter, and making new friends who were also juggling children, work and school.
Although this has not been easy, and many assignments were completed with a nursing, sleeping, or cranky child on my lap, I would not have postponed or changed this educational journey. I am looking forward with tremendous excitement to my final semester this spring, and walking at graduation.
After completing my Ivy Tech degree, I will begin working on a bachelor’s degree in management at Indiana Wesleyan. You may read this and find yourself wondering if you can do it. I have no doubt that you will find the support, growth and inspiration you need at Ivy Tech.
Natasha Langford, a Seymour resident, is a student at Ivy Tech Community College Columbus in the Associate of General Studies degree program. Send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.