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Monday, May 6, 2013

Motivational Mondays: Bay Path College Empowering Women to Reach Their Dreams

Mothers Attaining Their Dreams Are Role Models for Their Children

Thought for the Day: Yesterday:  I had a post prepared for Sunday's Comic Strips, but was not pleased with it & too busy to find & prepare a better one. Sorry, but my activities also led me to change the post for today & the rest of the week. Last week I spent time at the Museum of Motherhood. I have several ideas for posts about studies from around the world that I learned about at the conference. Instead of Tuesday's Psychological Trivia Question & Thursday's Trivia Answer, I will share Trends in Psychology Research on Tuesday & Thursday instead. Today's Motivational Mondays post will focus on Bay Path College's Programs which empower women to achieve their professional dreams. Yesterday, I had the honor & privilege to attend a graduation ceremony for the Burlington Campus' One-Day-A-Week Saturday Program of Bay Path College in Burlington Massachusetts. (The larger more formal graduation will be held in two weeks for the entire college.) It was the second time I have attended one of these ceremonies & each time I have been impressed by the amazing work that they are doing. As a mother of one of the graduates, I know about & am extremely proud of my daughter's accomplishments, but the ceremony also gave me a glimpse into the achievements of all the graduates & the school. I'd like to share a few of the other graduates stories I heard yesterday.

The program at Bay Path is an intensive program which runs for 10 hours, one day a week. It is held on Saturdays enabling women to work & raise families while studying full time. Women can complete a BA in 1 to 3 1/2 years depending on the number of credits they bring from other institutions. Mandatory attendance, with strict limitations on the number of hours that can be missed for health issues, makes it extremely demanding. Many of the graduates are the first members of their families to graduate from college. There are many single mothers with friends, family & sitters caring for their children while their mothers disappear for the day. There are also married mothers with husbands manning the home-front while they pursue their educational dreams. Some of the graduates have failed in previous attempts to attend college.

One of the creative assignments all the graduates had to complete was to write a commencement speech describing what their educational experience at Bay Path meant to them. The staff was then forced to chose one graduate to present the commencement speech. They actually chose two. We only heard one, since one graduate's paper was too personal to share at the ceremony. The young woman who gave the commencement speech told of her transformation.  In her first attempt at higher education, she went from being a college student on an athletic scholarship to a college dropout feeling like a failure. With her self confidence in the gutter, she found the courage to volunteer in City Corps in Chicago for two years. As a volunteer, a 4th grader, who read at a kindergarten level, helped her discover her passion for teaching. The student told her that at home, he was one of ten children, but that with her one hour a day, he felt like one in a million. She came back to Boston & enrolled in Bay Path. As one of the younger students, she was anxious about how she would fit in with the older student body; however, she found the support of the mature student body & staff to be exceptional.  They helped her regain confidence in her ability to succeed.

The second student speaker, a leadership honoree, had a very different story to tell. She was one of the older graduates. Over the years, she had failed several times at attempts to go to college. Earlier in life, she tried to become a nurse twice. Later on, she realized she wanted to become a teacher. After over twenty years, not only was she completing her BA, but she also announced her determination to continue & complete her Masters in Education. She has become the loving brunt of her son's backhanded compliment when he tells his friends, "You are not too old to complete your education. If my mother can do it, anyone can." It was touching to see her husband, adult children & grandchildren in the audience cheering on her accomplishment.

The school added another creative touch to the ceremony. Each graduate was given a rose & surprised by the request to dedicate the rose to the person or persons who they were most grateful to as they complete this phase of their education. The heartfelt thanks were touching. One grad said she felt like they were at the Oscars. Many thanked their mothers or sisters, some mentioned that they were no longer with them, but watching over them. Others thanked their children, husbands, boyfriends & friends. They also shared gratitude to the school & their classmates. It was not the Oscars, but their accomplishments are more significant, they are all winners & role models to their families & women everywhere.

This program empowers women & mothers to reach for their dreams. As I proudly watched my grandchildren sharing in their mother's success (see photo above), it was an important reminder that mothers (& fathers) need to reach for their dreams as role models for their children. Since this was the topic I spoke about at the Museum of Motherhood, I felt this was a good program to highlight today. I hope it will help inspire you to pursue your dreams as well!

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