This Mother’s Day, Arizona State University is celebrating all the mothers who are boldly pursuing their passions while balancing family life and professional life. The days are long and the work is challenging, but these moms are fearless in pursuing their goals. Claryssa Guerrero, Vicki Sheerin and Lauren Dohr are three wonderful examples of women who are successfully navigating their dual roles as full-time mothers and ASU Online students. Read on to learn more about their big goals and busy lives.
- Claryssa is earning her bachelor’s degree in psychology while taking care of her two young children. She aspires to perform research for underprivileged communities and help expand their access to resources.
- Vicki is completing her bachelor’s in healthy lifestyles coaching. She is balancing the demands of student life while being a single parent. She plans to become a licensed nutritionist to help people realize their power and motivate them to reach their health goals.
- Lauren is earning her bachelor’s in organizational leadership with a minor in history. She cares for her 7-year-old daughter and three dogs in addition to earning her real estate license and ASU Online degree. Her goal is to train teams on effective leadership.
Turning ambition into action at ASU
Going back to school has its challenges, but these moms understand how rewarding the impact can be. From career growth to financial benefits and the overall satisfaction of accomplishing a major goal, moms who go back to school can advance their lives and their family’s lives.
When moms choose to return to school and pursue their passions, they can set a positive, empowering example for their children to continue learning at any age or stage in life.
Lauren says her daughter motivates her by teaching her that she can do whatever she puts her mind to. She’s currently training with a Realtor and learning how to communicate with new people. She also volunteers at her daughter’s school and the local animal shelter, which has helped her develop better teamwork skills.
In fact, exploring new activities pushed Lauren to pivot from a history major to organizational leadership, and inspired her to navigate more diverse career opportunities. She says her daughter now excitedly asks to help her with her schoolwork, whereas before she would sadly ask if her mom could play or if she had school.
Claryssa agrees one of the biggest motivators for her going back to school was her children. With the flexibility of ASU Online, she can put them first and do coursework in her down time.
As a first-generation college student, Claryssa feels excited knowing she can set a new standard for the next generation and show them they have the same opportunities.
“There’s nothing that can stop you from doing what you want to do,” she said.
Sparking new passions
Gaining new life experiences can fuel new passions. That’s what happened to Vicki, who was motivated to start an incredible weight-loss journey after reaching 400 pounds. Vicki is keenly aware of the role food can play in someone’s life; her grandparents passed away due to poor nutrition and lifestyle choices. Vicki knew she had to start her health journey and break the cycle.
“I lost my mom when I was young, and I didn't want to do that to my kids,” she said. “I had a spark of fire under my butt that told me I need to do something.”
She started to lose weight and gain control over her eating habits, but as she was gaining momentum she experienced another tragic heartbreak — her husband suddenly passed away. Through extreme grief, Vicki continued to push through and focus on improving her health.
The more she navigated her own personal health and wellness, the more she was motivated to help others. This sparked her passion and led her to the healthy lifestyle coaching program at ASU.
Tips for moms returning to school
Finding the right opportunity to return to school is just the beginning. Managing the coursework and making time to study is critical to your academic success. These moms have mastered the art of the juggle.
When it comes to advice, building time management skills tops the list. To ensure she gets everything done, Claryssa says she organizes blocks of time surrounding her children’s schedule. She also takes study breaks to draw and decompress.
“Take life day by day, live in the moment and embrace it all,” Claryssa said.
Vicki emphasizes the effectiveness of using planners, taking extensive notes and allotting hours and days strictly for schoolwork.
“You can't do this all at once; you have to do things in small chunks,” Vicki said. “I learned this advice from my own weight loss journey.”
Fellow mom Lauren also believes in the power of planning when it comes to time management. She creates intensive planners with color codes to assign priority levels to tasks. She recommends adding flex time whenever you time blocks tasks. Her daily routine includes taking care of her daughter, participating in a variety of hobbies, and completing her schoolwork.
“School is actually the easiest addition to my routine,” she said. “ASU Online gives me a lot of spare time for hobbies.”
The ASU Online experience
Empowering students to advance personally and professionally all while balancing learning and life is essential in the ASU Online experience.
Claryssa said she knew she needed flexibility as a mother with two young children, and ASU Online helped her feel stress-free.
Vicki echoed the importance of flexibility when it comes to creating harmony between motherhood and student life. She said it’s easily integrated into her lifestyle and notes how easy it is to communicate with professors and receive feedback immediately. Vicki compared the ASU Online experience to a traditional undergraduate degree and added that the classes are challenging and interesting.
ASU Online has made it possible for these women, and many other moms, to go back to school while raising a family and pursuing their passions. They are mothers, role models and college students who show their kids that you can advance your education at any age. To all the mothers and mother figures in our lives ― we thank you and wish you a happy Mother’s Day!
You can learn more about our flexible online programs and see what ASU has to offer by joining the #ASUOnline conversation on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.