Dana Stancil has a saying in her family: “It’s not how you start, but how you finish.” Those words are ringing true for her today as a member of the Peirce College Class of 2015. Although Dana is earning her bachelor’s degree many years later than she thought—the divorced parent went back to school after raising her two sons—she is finishing stronger than ever.
We got a chance to sit down with Dana and talk about how she returned to school to make good on her promise to graduate college. Here’s what she told us.
Why did you decide to go back to school?
I have a great support system that wouldn’t let me forget that I needed to finish what I started. I
And that time came a couple years ago.
Exactly. My support system said to me, your sons are grown now. It’s time for you to refocus. I filled out Peirce’s application and was accepted.
What field are you majoring in?
I’m earning my bachelor’s degree in Human Resource Management and it is my desire to build up my career in that field.
How would you describe your experience overall at Peirce?
My experience was well rounded. I went into it with the purpose of being myself and taking full advantage of every opportunity that was offered to me. I took classes online and on-campus. I was friendly to everyone, and everyone was friendly to me—from President Mergiotti, Uva Coles, Rosemary Connors, Kristen Irey and so many others that I cannot name them all. I never met anyone at Peirce, whether an executive or instructor or student, who wasn’t like family to me.
Did you get involved in activities and clubs at Peirce?
I got involved in so many things. I met a wide range of people. Peirce’s Walker Center offers so many opportunities for growth and development. I attended the Annual Leadership Retreats, learned time management, stress management, and even how to remember to eat healthy. That’s how I was able to remain so involved. I served as president of the Peirce chapter of the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) as well.
What was it like to manage all your family and work responsibilities while going to school?
It was a balancing act. I supported my sons as much as they supported me. It was wonderful coming home to prepared dinners! They loved me through it and I loved them through it. Now I’m graduating and I have my two young men, Joe (‘JT’) and Christopher, sitting in the audience as my support system. I wouldn’t have it any other way.
What are your plans after graduation?
I’m planning to earn my master’s degree in Human Capital Development. I’m always looking for opportunities for growth and development.
What advice would you give to prospective adult learners?
“It’s not how you start, but how you finish”. You have to make decisions to develop yourself, step out, and take risks. I researched scholarships like a part-time job and never counted myself out of any application. I surrounded myself with positive people who encouraged me often. Through that, I was able to keep my head up and stay focused. My late father, Rev. Sylvester Lee Green, was always a great source of encouragement for me. He passed away 17 years ago, but I believe his hand is somewhere in all of this because he would not let me forget to ‘finish what I had started’. Finally, don’t ever give up on your dreams, keep pushing and you’ll get there.
Congratulations on earning your degree, Dana, and thank you for sharing your story!