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Saturday, July 13, 2024

Mother of 4 finally graduates US university 10 years after dropping out, bags masters degree

Mother of 4, Alicia Hernandez has finally graduated with a master’s degree at Mercer University in the United States 10 ears after she dropped out.

Alicia was born in Mexico and moved to the United States at the age of 3.  She was a young child learning to speak English, who often had to translate for her parents. Because her parents were not literate, she was often on her own when it came to schoolwork. 

“Even in the lower grades, they weren’t really able to help me unless it was just like maybe addition or simple math problems. But as far as writing goes or anything that had to do with English or history or anything like that, they weren’t able to help,” she said. 

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Alicia stated that after she earned her GED diploma, she wanted to go to college but did not know how to start. She was able to enroll at Lanier Technical College, North Georgia United States.




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She said her initial plan was to get a two-year degree in Accounting, but once she began attending classes, she realized how much she enjoyed learning. “I enjoyed going to school. I enjoyed the homework. I enjoyed meeting new people, as well,” she said. 

Even though she wanted to continue at a four-year school but faced some challenges. Alicia said her credits from Lanier Technical College were enough to help her transfer to a four-year school but she was not motivated.

She said she was exhausted from being a mother, working a full-time job, and being the sole provider for her four children. “I decided to take a break. I was only planning on taking a semester off, and that semester turned into more. This is why it took me like 10 years to complete it,” she said.

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However, in 2019, Alicia went back to DeVry University where she earned her Bachelor of Science in Technical Management with a Concentration in Accounting. She then started working as a Staff Accountant for 10 years at the Georgia School Boards Association in Lawrenceville.

Alicia said working there helped her realize her passion for education, so she started researching master’s degrees. It was in the course of searching for a master’s program, that she found Mercer University and spoke to a counselor who told her about her program.

“He was telling me everything I needed to know, asking me questions about where I wanted to go career-wise, how I wanted to use this degree,” she said. Alicia said with support from her job and her family, she was able to enroll in the program. 

She said she often struggled with imposter syndrome, questioning whether she belonged in college. But her children were a great support to her, often sending her encouraging texts that helped her press on. 

She earned her Master of Education in Higher Education Leadership at Mercer University and her dissertation topic was “Nontraditional Students in Higher Education,” which illustrated her life and concerns.

Alicia said with her new degree, she hopes to start a nonprofit organization that helps at-risk students to stay in school and achieve higher education. 



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