WILMINGTON - Life can get in the way sometimes. Priorities of raising children, marriage, work, and caring for family members in need can delay long-held dreams. But when the opportunity to go back to college knocked on Cindy Rice’s door at the age of 52, she jumped back in where she left off.
Rice is a student at University of Mount Olive at Wilmington, and plans to graduate on December 14 with her associate’s degree. She had attempted to attend college years before, but unfortunately the balance of single parenting, working full time, and attaining a college degree was too overwhelming. The decision was made to focus on her children and career, and until her move to Wilmington in 2011 that was her life. However, while job seeking in her new home town she began to realize that her lack of a college degree was lessening her prospects. So, with her children fully grown with families of their own, and a nudge in the right direction from her husband of 15 years, Steve, she enrolled at University of Mount Olive, and began working towards her associate’s degree in business administration.
And Rice soon started seeing benefits for her educational pursuits. When she handed in her cover letter to her current employer, HomeCare Management Corporation, she was surprised to find out that her supervisor was also earning her degree at University of Mount Olive.
But college isn’t just about the degree for Rice; it’s a development process that helps build her confidence as a person, and a working adult.
“I felt a nagging insecurity about my limited education for many years. I was not sure I could handle college courses even if given the opportunity. With each successful completion of a course, I have gained increasing self-confidence that has carried over into both my personal and work life. The first time I had to give an oral presentation in front of a class, I felt my knees buckling! However, now I am more likely to look people in the eye and speak without stumbling over my words. That alone is worth the effort it has taken to attend college while working full-time.”
With the support of the College and her family, Rice intends to move forward from her associate’s degree, and immediately enroll in the College’s bachelor’s degree program in business administration – Healthcare Management. She has been inspired to pursue this particular path by the professionals who helped her sister, Sharon, who was born with mental and physical challenges, and passed away in 2011 at the age of 41.
Rice feels that college is worth it, whether a prospective student is 18 or 50, and the benefits to life, career, and prospects are what make the money and time well spent.
“You are worth the investment it will take to get your education. Five years from now, you can either be five years older or you can be five years older and have a college degree!”
University of Mount Olive is a private institution rooted in the liberal arts tradition with defining Christian values. The College, sponsored by the Convention of Original Free Will Baptists, has locations in Mount Olive, New Bern, Wilmington, Goldsboro, Research Triangle Park, Washington and Jacksonville. For more information, visit www.moc.edu.