Dustin P. - B.S.W. Bachelor of Social work

I got married while I was in school and my wife and I had our first child my sophomore year and our second child my senior year. My wife watched our first child when she was home and when she had to work her sister would watch the baby.  We took out some student loans and lived off of them after we had our second child so my wife could stay home to watch the kids while I did my senior year internship/practicum. My wife and I had to depend on WIC and food stamps for a while. We bought cheap used cars so we wouldn't have any car payments among other things. I did a work study job as a supervisor for at-risk elementary age students. During the summer I worked through Parks and Recreation as a grounds maintenance worker on the parks full-time and I also worked at a call center part time.

The most challenging thing for me was wondering if we were going to make it financially since we were living off of student loans. When they run out they run out. Being away from my young family was also really hard. Another challenge was that everyone at on campus had the "free bird" mentality. It was difficult to meet with these single college students for school projects and such.

Since graduation I have been able to get a much more secure job with higher pay and a better schedule. I am currently employed through DCFS as a Child Protective Services Investigator. The most rewarding part of my degree is that I have a stable job that I enjoy and there is a smaller burden of stress worrying about if we will make it financially or if I will be able to keep a job. Although that stress still exists it isn't as bad. The sense of accomplishment is nice as well.

If I could give advice to other parents wanting to back to school it is this: If you want the degree go get it. The degree is worth it and so is any other form of training and education. Where there is a will there is a way even if you have to stoop to an all new low for a time. Some people have to live with family to save on rent but it’s worth it temporarily.

Dustin P.

B.S.W. Bachelor of Social work

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