Why Returning to School Makes a Difference in the Life of a Single Mom


An interview with Sheri Dietz

1. What was your means of income before you returned to college?

Before returning to college my means of income was my photography business.

2. Can you recall the first trigger or event that caused you to think about returning to college?

After struggling as a single mom for so many years to make ends meet, I first thought of returning to college often researching jobs that would allow me to make the amount of money it would take to pay my bills and discovering that it wasn’t going to be possible without some higher education.

3. What is the degree or certification you earned or that you are working towards?

I now have an Associates degree in Computer Drafting.

4. How will/did earning this degree or certificate change your life?

Earning this degree has allowed me to get a steady dependable job. It has lifted the stress load of not knowing how I’m going to pay the bills each month, to now being able to plan, save, budget, and most of all pay all my bills and pay them on time! I would add that from the years of struggling so much and cutting all extras out and living strictly and frugal, has helped me be more aware of the value of saving and budgeting. I appreciate keeping it simple and that allows me to better plan and prepare for my future now that I finally can.

5. How will or did it also change the lives of your children?

I think this has also had a positive effect on my children for them to see me work as hard for something and to now see the results often they have seen the financial struggle through the years. It will help them know to work hard for things and never give up. They are proud of me and are glad to see my hard work pay off.

6. How did you manage to pay for the tuition, books, etc.?

I was able to get a grant for my first semester and a scholarship grant for my last semester and student loans for the rest. The grants were a huge blessing and I will now strive to pay off the student loan as soon as possible. The hardest part was trying to pay my bills while in school. I wasn’t able to work as such and had to use some student loan funds just to help with living expenses. It was a huge struggle getting through but it was worth it.

7. How long was the process for you from beginning to end?

The whole process for me from beginning to end was two solid years. I had to go to school full time through the summer and take a mini session just to get it all in two years. It was 5 full time overloaded semesters and 5 classes each semester.

8. What kept you going when the going got rough?

I think all the years of struggles helped build up the momentum and determination to keep going when the going got rough.

School was always hard for me and it was extra hard along with all the responsibilities of life.

I depended on God to give me the strength to get through each day. I knew I had to do it for the sake of my future.

9. What suggestions do you have for other single moms thinking of returning to college?

Hard work and determination pay off if you just don’t give up. God is on your side even when it feels like no one else is and He can renew your strength and see you through. Also, don’t get caught up in the struggles, it’s all part of life and part of what makes you stronger, just make the best of it and make great memories with your children along the way. Struggles are always going to be a part of life, but your kids are only young once. Let them see love, not stress!

Gail Cawley Showalter

I hold a degree from Lamar University in Speech and a Master’s from the University of Texas. I was an educator in regular and special education for twenty years, finishing my professional career as a Braille teacher. I am a Certified Professional Coach with Fowler International Academy.

I married Sam after raising three children as a single mother.

In 2007 I founded SMORE for Women. SMORE is a nonprofit whose goal is Single Moms, Overjoyed, Rejuvenated, & Empowered. My stories have been published in several Christian books and magazines. My book, Living Learning Loving, Insights and Encouragement on the Path of Motherhood is available for purchase on Amazon.


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