The student news site of Pierce College in Lakewood, Washington.

Moms at Pierce: The Power of Love and Knowledge

April 30, 2018

Hannah Nguyen / Staff Photo
“I am not happy if I do not have an intellectual challenge.”
— BRENAE JOHNSON

Brenae Johnson

Johnson is a mom studying at Pierce College. She has been doing this for almost three years. Dealing with a 10-year-old son and going to school at the same time is not a relaxing job, she said.

While achieving in classes which mostly involve STEM subjects, particularly math and physics, she still finds it difficult to cope with effective time management. Johnson said she makes sure that she spends a certain amount of quality time with her son and completing all of her coursework can be a hardship. Despite this challenge, Johnson still has an amazing motivation going back to school.

Johnson equates her happiness with her learning.

“I am not happy if I do not have an intellectual challenge. I love solving problems and challenging myself. It’s really hard to accomplish that when you are just at home,” she said.

She said the winter quarter was tough for her, since she was taking Calculus 3, Engineering Physics 1 and a yoga class. However, Johnson still succeeded in managing her coursework and taking care of her child, and was even able to find time to play with him before bedtime. Johnson still has a long way to go on this path, but this courageous mom is always trying her best to balance being a mom and a student at the same time.

Tiffany Sialega McKoy / Courtesy Photo
Pierce student Tiffany Sialega McKoy with
her family.

Tiffany Sialega McKoy

McKoy is also a mom attending classes at Pierce. She has been working on a business major for two years, graduating this summer. While working on her major, she also raises her children. If anyone has had experiences with multitasking, McKoy has.

Along with her four children, she recently remarried and has one more step-child.

“It’s difficult but I am able to overcome it with the help of family and Pierce has been really helpful for me to get me to where I am now,” McKoy said.

For her, the most significant hardship she encountered as a college mom was relocating and transferring from another college in North Carolina.

“It was hard to be away from my kids, and finding people to take care of all of them or a daycare was unaffordable, especially when we had just relocated,” she said.

Starting college and work prevented her from always being there for her kids because she did not have enough time. McKoy said, “It was difficult to be away from the kids after I had always been there for them; there was one time my kids had a school function but I was unable to make it due to classes.”

At the end of the day, she finally overcame those challenges, and Pierce College helped her by effectively communicating with her about her schedule and her academic progress. “It’s possible. Although it takes a lot of patience having to juggle school and kids and work, as long as you put effort in whatever you do, everything is possible,” McKoy said.

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