Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Featured Learner Series: The Family that Studies Together, Succeeds Together

At Peirce, we’re always thrilled to highlight exceptional students who overcome challenges to meet their academic and career goals. In that past, we’ve featured deployed service members, married couples, and a mother and son who are completing their studies together, among many others.
So when we learned about the Young family we knew we had to speak with them. They are a husband, wife, and daughter all attending Peirce together while each managing incredibly busy schedules. It was inspiring to hear about their amazing story of commitment, dedication, and their extraordinary ability to balance many different priorities while also excelling in their academic studies. We think you’ll agree.

We started our conversation by discussing the circumstances that led them all to be enrolled at Peirce at the same time. The conversation then turned to the demanding schedules that each member of the family manages on a daily basis. Finally, we ended with the advice they would give to other learners who are juggling family, work, and personal commitments while pursuing their education.

Meet the family
Leigh first came to Peirce several years ago to pursue an associate degree. At that time her husband, Anthony, was in the military stationed in Kosovo and she was taking care of three children in the home, the youngest being just 18 months old. Because of this challenging schedule, Leigh found the online courses at Peirce to be convenient and compatible for her situation. She’s now a senior at Peirce where she is pursuing her bachelor’s in Integrated Leadership.

Her daughter Bene’t was part of the Year Up program that partners with Peirce College to provide young adults with the skills needed to succeed in the workforce. The yearlong program starts with six months of professional development and upon completion guarantees an internship at a Fortune 1000 company. Bene’t excelled in the program. She won the Leadership Award, secured an internship at JPMorgan Chase, and eventually earned a year-long extension of the internship.

For Bene’t, after graduating from high school and taking classes at the Community College of Philadelphia, she realized she wanted to advance further in her studies. Her mother recommended she take a look at Peirce because of her earlier positive experiences. Soon thereafter, Bene’t found herself enrolling at Peirce to pursue her bachelor’s degree in Information Technology.

It was around this same time, now back from Kosovo, that Anthony realized he had a GI Bill he could use. After retiring from the military (though working full-time at the U.S. Post Office) he decided to join his family at Peirce and pursue an associate degree in criminal justice.

Getting down to busy-ness
To say that this family is busy would be an understatement. Leigh, who just got a new position at Temple University’s School of Podiatry, is also very involved with her church as the Women’s Director and church board secretary. She’s enrolled in a yearlong leadership course with the church and takes weekly fitness classes. She wakes up at 5am to get some studying and homework done before taking her 13 year-old son to the bus stop at 6am.

Anthony leaves for his third shift position at the Post Office at 10pm and returns home at 8am. After settling in, he begins studying and completing homework, often until he falls asleep.

As for Bene’t, she’s taking online classes at Peirce while also taking a Saturday calculus course at CCP. She is working 19 hours per week in her Year Up internship extension at JP Morgan on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. She plans on dedicating Tuesdays and Thursdays as her study and online class days this semester.

In addition to their individual schedules, family time and taking care of their 13 year-old are very high on their priority list.

So how do they do it as a family? Leigh tells us:

“There is always bumps in the road. We’ve had to learn as a family how to study and be involved with school, while still being involved with each other. There were points where everyone would scatter and sometimes we would only see each other in passing or at meals. Being knowledgeable of each other’s schedules, stresses and time needed helps us to be empathetic to what each person is going through. For example, I may take a class and do very well in it but another family member may not feel the same way about the class. We push each other by being competitive and we always help motivate each other.
 Once you get in a rhythm you can do it, you can find a way. I don’t get home from work until 7 but still have to find a way to do it. So time management for all of us is very important. The time that you spend watching a television show is the time that it takes to study, so it’s about sacrificing and knowing your goals. But through all of the stress and challenges I would do it again because of the many rewards of it. We’ve developed as a family and it is setting a good example for my 13 year old son, who is already placing in advanced classes. We’re proving that education can be a family event.”

Leigh is only eight classes away from completing her degree and hopes to graduate next year. She tells us that since Temple is such a big organization, she plans on utilizing her education to go further along in her career than she would be able to without one.

Anthony currently has a 4.0 GPA and hopes to graduate with his associate degree in criminal justice in 2016. From there he may decide to continue his education by pursuing a bachelor’s and possibly finding a third career in criminal justice. “Who knows, he may be working in homeland security!” Leigh added.

Bene’t plans on pursuing a two-year Career Development program at JPMorgan Chase that starts in July 2015. She hopes to graduate from Peirce with an Information Technology bachelor’s degree in programming and application development. She’ll graduate with her associate degree from CCP this January.

Good luck to you all and thanks for being such an inspiring family!