When it comes time to go to college, everybody has a slightly different situation, some more difficult than others. Some younger students may have everything paid for by their parents or scholarships and no one else to worry about but themselves. Other students have to work just to cover school expenses and basic needs. Still, other students have to worry about balancing school with a job and family.

But Angela Davis-Washington’s story puts many of these to shame.

Even though she just found out she’s been accepted to nursing programs at both Fredericks College and Howard University, Davis-Washington, a single mom of five kids, has already been through challenges that would prompt many students to quit. According to this Washington Post article about her story, this Maryland resident grew up in the foster care system and had kids at an early age. She worked as a certified nursing assistant and a legal assistant but still relied on housing assistance to pay the bills.

Luckily, Davis-Washington was chosen to participate in the Family Self-Sufficiency program, which was provided by the Montgomery County Housing Opportunities Commission. This program helped Davis-Washington get back to work as a CNA and work into college degree programs. But with so many children and a full-time job, this still wasn’t easy for this single mom. The article recalls:

“Davis-Washington would wake at 5 a.m. to get her youngest child ready for day care, then spend 2 hours commuting to work by train and bus from Germantown to Largo.”

Now, Davis-Washington is somewhere between her severely underprivileged situation of just five years earlier and achieving her goals of being a registered nurse and providing a secure life for her children.

“Davis-Washington said completing the program has helped her reawaken an ages-old dream. ‘I’ve always wanted to be a nurse, ever since I was a little girl,’ she said, ‘but I’ve had so many interruptions. Now I’m halfway there.'”

So what do we learn from people like Angela Davis-Washington? We learn that things aren’t always arranged perfectly to allow us to achieve our goals, but that challenges shouldn’t deter us from achieving goals. We also learn that a little help can go a long way in getting through these challenges. Finally, we learn that achieving our goals is worth the sacrifices, the sleepless nights, and the discouragements we will have along the way.

So if you’re struggling through college right now-or if you’re thinking about getting a college degree-remember Angela Davis-Washington. And remember that, like her, you have challenges that seem beyond your ability. But if you keep pushing ahead and you get help when you need it, soon enough, you will find yourself halfway, and then all the way, to your goal of a college degree.

So what are your biggest challenges in going back to school? What do you find to be your biggest source of support with challenges? Share in the comments section below!

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