by Brandy Esham
Life comes at you fast and for Wanda Hall, it felt like life was traveling at the speed of light. Wanda was enjoying her life as a stay-at-home mom to her 12 children. She loved being there for them as they left for school and came home from school, but life came at the Hall family fast. Wanda’s husband, Keith, who had worked at the Ford Motor Company to support his family for years, was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS). MS is a progressive and aggressive disease, so a few years after Keith’s diagnoses, he had to retire from his job. Wanda realized that her role as a stay-at-home mom would have to change, she would have to go to work to support her family.
Wanda didn’t just want a job, she wanted a job that she enjoyed and paid well enough to support her family. She decided in order to find her dream job, she would have to go back to school. For Wanda going back to school didn’t start with college, it started with getting her GED. Wanda began taking GED classes to prepare and a few months later she earned her GED. Going back to school and getting her GED took perseverance on Wanda’s part, she was now older and shouldering the responsibility of her children and husband, it was overwhelming. However, she stuck with it and pushed through because that is what she had taught her children to do. Wanda said education had always been extremely important to her family and she wanted to show her children that she practiced what she preached. So she then transferred to Maysville Community & Technical College (MCTC) and enrolled in the Nursing program at the Maysville Campus.
Wanda was in her first month of classes at MCTC when life, once again, came at her fast. Her mother, who had been coming and staying with the family throughout the year for weeks at a time to help with the children so Wanda could focus on school, suddenly got very ill. Wanda, determined not to give up, attended all her classes but then would drive to Somerset, KY to stay with her mom at the hospital at night. Tragically, a few weeks later, Wanda’s mother passed away from lung cancer. It was hard to keep coming to class, she was grieving for her mother and it just felt like anything that could go wrong in her life, was going wrong. But Wanda was able to persevere once again.
“I knew my mother wouldn’t want to me quit the nursing program, she had helped me so much.”
So Wanda kept attending her classes and working hard toward her dream of becoming a nurse. She even found much needed encouragement from her professors and classmates.
“Mrs. Lightner kept encouraging me. She was so wonderful. My classmates letting me cry and vent - I feel like I wouldn’t have made it if they hadn’t had been so great to me.”
Wanda’s perseverance paid off, on May 5th of this year, she graduated the Nursing program at MCTC as a Registered Nurse (RN). And she found that dream job she started her journey seeking to find, she will begin working at Eastern State as a RN later this month. But Wanda doesn’t plan to end her journey there, she plans to continue her education and get her Bachelor of Science in Nursing.
Wanda has some advice for others who may be wanting to go back to school but are afraid to take that first step.
“You can do it! There are no excuses, you can do it. It is overwhelming, but it starts as simple as getting your GED.”
And as far as her choice to attend MCTC, well that is one choice she is will never regret.
“You feel important at MCTC. MCTC takes reasonability for you, they know you have so much else going on in your life, but they see you as a whole. I honestly don’t think I could have made it anywhere else but here.”
Life comes at us fast, but like Wanda, with perseverance and the right school behind you, you can achieve your dreams!