Flexibility is a game changer.
That’s exactly what Washtenaw Community College offers learners of all ages and something Carolyn Bradshaw (above) has embraced and relied on to earn a college degree and advance in her career.
Bradshaw first attended WCC more than 20 years ago, at the same time she was becoming a new parent. She studied psychology and sociology at that time, but put her college dreams on hold to raise her children as a single parent.
After working full-time and raising four daughters, Bradshaw was ready to return in 2021, but couldn’t afford tuition. She had worked as a postal carrier throughout the pandemic. A Futures for Frontliners scholarship and a Michigan Reconnect scholarship, both launched by the State of Michigan during the pandemic, made it possible for her to return to college in pursuit of her degree.
The second time around has made all the difference. Bradshaw is able to set family time as a priority and simultaneously pursue a degree that will lead to a more secure future. The college’s programs, staff and schedules are designed to accommodate a student at any stage in their life.
“I can still be present with my daughters. Distance learning allows for me to do classes on my own time, which is a great support for my busy life. I have been able to take classes – in-person, virtually and through distance learning,” Bradshaw says. “I have the ability to pursue my degree goals without interfering with my employment, which is needed for our family.”
WCC also has helped her adjust direction when it came to her long-term education plans.
“When I first attended, I was in a completely different career and on a totally different path,” she explains. “Since returning, I’ve aligned my studies and degree goals with my career path.”
Bradshaw is taking classes to earn a Management associate degree with a Human Resources Essentials certificate. As she moves into management, Bradshaw is confident and ready because WCC has equipped her with the right tools and education to succeed. She urges other adult learners to take advantage of WCC’s many opportunities to continue their education.
“Just do it,” she says. “I know it’s cliché, but the college is willing and wanting to help and often has resources that are under-utilized. WCC wants to help you get what you need to continue your education to the finish line.”
This story appears in the Fall 2023 edition of Launch magazine. See complete issue.