|ANYTHING TO EARN HER DEGREE: Latifa|
went back to school after a 15-year hiatus
Latifa was born and raised in South Philadelphia, one of six children. Her mother never finished high school and her father finished high school only to serve in the Vietnam War, but education was always important to Latifa. She excelled as a student at Furness High School, where she made the honor roll in her senior year. She was rewarded with an internship working for the Greentree Group, specializing in homeowners insurance.
It was a colleague that encouraged Latifa to work for an insurance brokerage firm, and with that ambition in mind, she knew she needed to pursue her college degree. She first heard about Peirce College from her high school guidance counselor, and it stuck out in her memory for its size and location.
"I knew that I didn't want to tackle the big schools," recalls Latifa. "Peirce was close to home and manageable." She enrolled and attended evening class part-time while building her career. "Peirce was great, the classes were small and challenging, and I enjoyed the people and atmosphere," she says of those first courses she took back in 1994.
In 1996, life changed her plans when Latifa found out she was pregnant with her son, Aquil Ford. She put her education on hold to focus on caring for her newborn. In the intervening years, she remained committed to her career and continued her insurance education by completing several insurance certifications (Property & Casualty License and ARM), but she didn't go back to complete her college degree.
It wasn't until a layoff in 2010 that Latifa realized just how important that college degree was going to be to make it in today's job market. "You just can't wing it," she stressed. "Being unemployed is like stepping into unfamiliar territory. I was limited in my options. I needed a college degree!"
Latifa got back in touch with Peirce College and spoke with enrollment representative Alyson Rodgers. "Alyson was so nice, and she understood that I was unemployed and waived my application fee. She also told me about the Protect and Serve Grant which offers a 25 percent discount. Since my husband served his country, I benefited with reduced tuition."
After registering for classes, Latifa told her now 15-year-old son that she was once again a college student and might need his help with math. "My son was impressed and I think he thought I was kidding when I asked for his help. I wasn't kidding!"
Latifa reflected on how much she has changed since she first attended Peirce in 1994."This time, my mind is broader, more eager and interested in learning versus just getting a college degree. If I would have finished in 1996, with the technology demands today, I would have needed a refresher to keep up. What I learned 20 years ago is no longer relevant and I feel good about my return to college and grateful to have a new chapter in my life. God has great things in store for me."
No matter how long it's been since you last cracked open a textbook, take it from Latifa and know that it's never too late to continue your education. If you're thinking about returning to school, we're here to help you along the way. Stop by one of our upcoming open houses on August 9 or 11, learn more about your options, and start the next chapter of your life!