Learning Without Limitations: Our Mother’s College Journey

By: Carmena Cox, Latika McLeod, and Jamar Williams
Looking back in her rearview mirror she said, “I’m going to school too!” These are the words that our 62-year-old mother spoke to her youngest grandson who she had provided childcare until he was ready to start school over three years ago. For most of our mother’s life, she had helped provide care for three children, eight grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren. She also was the primary caregiver for our father who was chronically ill for well over 20 years. After our father died in 2015, her responsibilities changed. Only two more years of providing childcare for her grandson, she began to wonder what the next chapter of her life would hold. One day, while having a discussion with her four-year-old grandson about him starting kindergarten, it occurred to her, and she told the four-year-old that she would also go to school. Of course, her grandson chuckled with excitement, as he thought grandma would be going to kindergarten with him. She quickly explained to the child that she would be going to college. And she did just that!

Making It Happen

Three years later, our 65-year-old mother is virtually graduating from Pitt Community College (PCC) from the Human Services Technology: Substance Abuse program. Her time at PCC did come with obstacles. She quickly learned that much had changed in the 40 plus years since she’s been in school. Our mother had to adapt to online learning and transactions, navigating a large college campus, and being an older adult learner on campus with students and instructors who were much younger than her. However, our mother looked beyond what some would see as limitations. Beyond the challenges and even the obstacles that came with the pandemic, she succeeded. Now our mother is eager to enter the workforce with new career goals. She is excited about helping people within her community and has proven that her future is limitless.

Carmena Cox, Jamar Williams, Carmen Williams, and Latika McLeod

Shout Out!

If you see our mother Carmen Williams in her Winterville community, please give her a socially distant “shout out.” Our family is beyond proud!

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