Student reflection: pursuing the dream of college

by BreeAnna Bender

The year 2008 was a very difficult year for me and my young family. My husband was injured at work, which made me the sole provider for my family. In addition to raising my two young children and working full-time, I decided it was time to change my life. Only I didn’t know how.

I had always wanted a college education, but I felt it was out of my reach. My reality was filled with children, work and everyday life. How on earth was I going to find time to go back to school? As if someone was reading my mind, a commercial for Marylhurst University came on the television. It spoke of a university that catered to the needs of working-adult students who lead busy lives, but that wasn’t what made me jump on my computer as soon as the commercial was over.

They had a degree in English Literature and Writing.

Writing had long been a passion of mine since I was a child, but with the storms of adulthood, I had given up my childhood hopes of being a writer.

Marylhurst was about to change all that. I logged onto my ancient laptop, tapping my fingers anxiously as the website loaded. Finally an image of the campus appeared on the screen. A beautiful bell tower. I scanned over the student information with a sense of renewed excitement. College may just be possible for me, I thought.

I scheduled a tour of the campus grounds, and the moment I set foot on campus, I knew Marylhurst was the university I had been looking for. Their flexible schedule allowed me to create an educational experience that worked for me. I was still able to support my family while I followed my educational goals.

Next year, I will be the first member of my family to have earned a college degree. I’ve also been inspired to write again. Since starting Marylhurst, I have completed a novel for young adults and hope to have it published in the future.

So to those of you who feel like a college education is out of reach, it’s not. Yes, it will take hard work and dedication, but a college education does not have to be a distant dream. It can be your reality.

BreeAnna Bender is a current Marylhurst University student, earning her degree in English Literature and Writing. When she is not studying, BreeAnna can be found penning novels for young adults, reading compulsively or chasing her two amazing children.

Photo: Victoria Wortham