In January 2021, I embarked on a transformative journey as a non-traditional student at the University of Iowa to complete my Bachelor of Liberal Studies degree.  What makes my story truly unique is that I started my academic career outside the United States, which added an extra layer of complexity to the pursuit of my education. Despite the initial challenges of returning to school with student peers half my age, my story is a testament to the power of determination, support, and personal growth, one that I’m eager to share with prospective students. 

Balancing a young family with academics was no small feat, but it was a challenge I embraced wholeheartedly. The vibrant community at the University of Iowa eased my transition into a virtual learning environment. From day one, I felt welcomed and supported by both the university and the broader Hawkeye family. I even received my very first Hawkeye t-shirt from the academic advising team (which I still proudly wear), which was inspirational for me even before starting my first set of classes! 

My success can be attributed to the unwavering support of my family, friends, and professors. Their belief in my capabilities fueled my determination to succeed. In addition, I owe a special debt of gratitude to my academic advisor, Angela Ward, who expertly guided me through the complexities of the university and helped me find my academic stride. 

Discovering that stride was a turning point. Once I found my rhythm, I pushed forward by immersing myself in summer semester courses, which helped me complete my goal. 

While I couldn’t experience the traditional on-campus lifestyle, I always felt like an integral part of the Hawkeye family. The University of Iowa’s commitment to fostering a sense of belonging among all students made me proud to be a Hawkeye. 

My story highlights that it’s never too late to pursue your dreams and further your education.  Starting my journey in January 2021, the University of Iowa provided me with the resources, support, and community I needed to thrive as a non-traditional student. I hope my journey serves as an inspiration to prospective students, showing them that with determination and a supportive environment, they too can achieve their goals and become a part of the Hawkeye legacy.