There may be many reasons why people choose to go to college. Close to the top for people who are raising children is the desire to carve out a better life for themselves and their family and to set an example for the kids. Underpinning that is the needed training to qualify for a better job.
Such is the case for Michelle Turner, a single mother of five children who is intent on becoming a registered nurse. Some people might think she is taking the long way to get there.
Turner attended high school in Battleground, Wash., without graduating. She later enrolled at Lower Columbia College in Longview and earned her GED in 2000. She was involved in living life on a different track until realizing she needed to get something better for herself and her kids. That something was an education. She came to Centralia College and is taking the prerequisites to enter the nursing program. After she earns her two-year degree here she wants to work in the community as a registered nurse.
“I chose Centralia College because it is close to home and I have heard only great things about the nursing program. I am thankful to have made this choice,” said Turner. She added that the faculty and staff here have been very helpful as she works toward success.
How have faculty helped: “For me, mostly that they are always available. Their office hours are posted and I know I can e-mail them or visit them if I need to. My instructors so far have even given their phone numbers where they can be reached. They are so accessible,” said Turner.
But there is more to it than helpful staff.
“I was concerned about being an older student and found that it is not even an issue here. There are students in my classes of all ages and I don’t notice the age difference. Centralia College still has the small, hometown feel and I appreciate that,” she said.
“I am going into nursing because I love to help people. I have wanted to be a nurse since I was a child. My mother was a nurse and has been my idol.” Turner also gets inspiration from other family members: “My kids have been so supportive and encouraging about me going back to school, I really couldn’t be doing all this without that support.”
That support, native talent, and a desire to succeed are all contributing to her success. In addition to being a single mother of five, ages 10–23, attending college full-time, and working part-time she is nurturing a 3.8 grade point average after two quarters at Centralia College.
She is also involved in campus activities through her on-campus employment.
“My work-study position in the College Relations office is making it possible for me to be involved in various campus activities. I appreciate having flexibility with my hours so that I can work while my kids are in school. Working in the College Relations office also makes me feel like I have an in on what’s happening on campus and I really like that,” she said.
Would she recommend Centralia College to others? “Yes, definitely, absolutely I would recommend Centralia College to others. Especially now it is so important to have an education. The (lower) cost here allows me to go to school. It has given me a boost in self-esteem! I am excited to tell others I am a student at Centralia College.”