In college, age is just a number

Freddy Ward, Reporter

BC has a variety of first time and re-entry students who have returned to college for various reasons. They realize educational opportunities can occur at any stage of life.

Majorie Small, 52, vividly remembers Oct. 17, 2012.

“It was the most devastating day of my life, the day my financial stability was taken from me,” she said. “My husband had an aneurysm and passed away.”

Small, a wife and mother of two children, said her husband was the breadwinner and took care of their finances and financial obligations.

She said it wasn’t until after his death that she discovered she was financially “broke.”

“I didn’t have money to bury him. Our son had to take out a loan because I couldn’t qualify. I had no credit or employment,” said Small.

She had no idea how she would pay a $1,765 mortgage, a $475 car payment, car and life insurance, utilities, or any of the other debts.

Small said she found a job as a clerk, but her salary wasn’t enough to pay their financial obligations.

Small attributes her entry into college to her son, Wayne. She said, “He convinced me I was ‘not to old’ to start a career.”

Small said it took months for her to enroll, but she finally did. She said her financial future was now in her hands, and it was time for her to take charge.

When her circumstances start to depress her, she keeps saying, “I can do this.”

Small is preparing for the future and planning her retirement. She is a business major and will graduate in fall 2017.

Jimmy Garcia, 45, a convicted felon, is a human service major at BC. Garcia said as a condition of his felony probation, he had to become actively employed.

He said the state office, Career Service Center, would not refer him to prospective employers because he was a felon.

Garcia said, “There was no company that wanted to employ or take a chance on me.”

It became impossible for him to find employment on his own and without a referral.

He said, “I can’t find a job so I’ll enroll in college.” Garcia is a sophomore and will graduate in the spring 2016.

Carrie Nash, 63, worked for Kaiser Permanente for more than 15 years and quit.

Nash said, “I’ve never worked for a company that treats their employees with respect.”

Nash is a re-entry student. She attended BC earlier in her life and earned a culinary certificate.

Nash is now a child development major. She plans to open a day-care and become self-employed.

She said, “Then, I can finally be the boss.”