When Sara Benton started the process of determining whether to return to school, she had to consider how doing so would affect her family. Like many “non-traditional” students at Minnesota School of Business-Rochester, Sara knew she would have to juggle many things in order to pursue her educational and career goals. With that said, completing a medical assistant degree and pursuing a career while being a parent can also be one of the most rewarding journeys. In her own words, Sara reflects on her experience:
I am a single mom of two. I don’t have my son full-time, but I do have my daughter at home with me. It was a tough choice for me to go back to school because at first I didn’t know how I was going to swing cutting back on work and going to school full-time. I do, however, have a wonderful support system and my daughter is included in that. Her name is Paige and we have study dates together. She helps me with some of my studying for tests and I do the same for her. Paige tells me that she is proud of me and loves the fact that I went back to school. She told me that it shows her that no matter what life has thrown at me, she knows that I am strong and that I will do great.
Short-term Challenges for Long-term Payoff
It is tough not being able to spend as much time with her or my son like I used to, but in about a year and a half everything will change! I believe that completing my degree will allow me to qualify to make better money. I would like us to have a better place to live. Having my degree, being within a career (vs. working jobs that pay little and offer minimal for benefits), would allow me to do more things with my kids. Right now we struggle and I want more for them and for me.
Role Model for My Kids
My kids are 14 and 12, and they are pretty smart for their ages! I am very proud of them as they are both doing very well in school. My son, Brody, asked me the other weekend, “So, Mom, have you brought your C grade up yet?” I said, “Yes, I did.” He said, “Good, I knew you were smart!” He is such a stinker! But it made me feel pretty good about myself that he thought to even ask me that. He is my 12-year-old. Both my kids are great and it’s so wonderful that they think so much of me going back to school. Granted, I am their mom and they are supposed to love me and everything else, but still, how many kids will tell you good job and that they are proud of you? We are here for each other and that is what helps me to make it through the challenges of balancing school, work and family.
I love the fact that my kids say that they are proud of me and that they know I can do this. And I believe that my hard work right now will pay off for all of us in the end. I look forward to having my kids at graduation, having them watch me walk across that stage, receive my diploma, and know that I achieved my degree for all of us!