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Jaime Dixon

Fearless Mom: How I Found the Courage to Go Back to School

As a mother, I also struggled with the idea of going back to school. I didn’t know if I could find a balance between earning my degree and raising my kids.

My journey to nursing school has been a long one.

As a young girl, I always wanted to become a nurse and care for people, but as I got older, I began to think that nursing was not something I wanted to do—or even could do. As a mother, I also struggled with the idea of going back to school. I didn’t know if I could find a balance between pursuing my career and being there for my family.

Then, one day, everything changed. I knew that I had to follow my dreams and become a nurse.

When my daughter was 2 months old, she had to have a tracheostomy. She had in-home nursing care until she was 3 years old and we spent many days and nights at Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin-Milwaukee for surgeries and overnight stays. I was so thankful for the amazing nurses who cared for her and the compassion and kindness they showed us during that difficult time. Seeing the difference they made for my daughter and my family rekindled my desire to go to nursing school.

I waited until my daughters were older before I enrolled at a local community college. There, I completed many of my general education courses and nursing prerequisites and even earned my diploma in medical assisting. I was happy to have earned my diploma, but I still felt like I was settling because I had always wanted to be a nurse.

There were also many stops and starts along the way. Sometimes the needs of my family required that I take a break from school, and sometimes it was my own self-doubt that held me back. I kept thinking that I just couldn’t possibly accomplish something so great. In class, I always thought “there is no way I’m as smart as everyone else who is here,” and it kept me from moving through the program at a normal pace.

Still, I could not let go of my dream.

I began to wonder if there was another school that could help me break out of my rut and achieve my goals. I ended up enrolling at Herzing University-Kenosha in the spring of 2018 and I haven’t looked back!

At Herzing, I know my teachers want me to succeed as badly as I want to. It has helped me stay motivated to finish my degree and given me the confidence to know that I can. I’ve learned that it’s OK to not do everything perfectly on the first try, and that it’s OK if things take longer than anticipated. The point is to keep moving forward. Little by little, as each semester passes, I am getting closer to my goal.

Here's what I've learned.

I’ve learned that going back to school is not an impossible feat, as long as you stay organized and on top of your studies. It’s also important to communicate with your teachers or an advisor if you are feeling overwhelmed. My professors have always given me encouragement and great tips to stay focused.

My husband and my children are my biggest motivators, but my classmates are a real close second. I could not do this without them as a sounding board. Whenever I’m unsure about something, I reach out to one of them for clarification and vice-versa. We are like a family and I’m so thankful for them!

For moms who are just like me – doubting yourself, thinking you’re too old, wondering if it’s too late or questioning how you could manage school with raising your children – my advice is that you CAN do it. Take it one class at a time, one semester at a time. Take one small step forward today to change your tomorrow.

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* Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Employment and Wage Statistics 2023 / Occupational Outlook Handbook 2022. BLS estimates do not represent entry-level wages and/or salaries. Multiple factors, including prior experience, age, geography market in which you want to work and degree field, will affect career outcomes and earnings. Herzing neither represents that its graduates will earn the average salaries calculated by BLS for a particular job nor guarantees that graduation from its program will result in a job, promotion, salary increase or other career growth.

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