After spending 10 years at home raising her two children and now being in her mid-thirties, Patty Sturz thought her time for college had long passed by.
"I'm never going to go to college, and I wasted my chance, "Patty recalled thinking. "Then something drove me to do it."
Patty just finished her fourth semester at RACC in the fall and is working toward an associate degree in anthropology. She plans on graduating with honors in the next academic year and envisions a future in counseling or social work with a focus on helping people overcome addictions.
During her time at RACC, Patty has taken numerous honors program courses- but admits she was scared of the challenge at first. "I was hesitant because I was afraid it might be more difficult and time-consuming and take time away from my kids," she said. "Then I remembered that all of my favorite classes in high school were my honors courses, so I tried it with two my first semesters. They are smaller classes, and they are so engaging and enriching."
With her honors class work, Patty qualified to join RACC's chapter of Phi Theta Kappa, the international honor society for two-year schools. She holds the position of secretary and also got involved in campus activities by submitting some of her writing to Legacy, the College's scholarly journal.
"It's all about being part of a community," she said. "There is something satisfying about giving your time to other people."
While she's enjoying herself now, Patty's path to college took time to evolve, and like many other RACC students, it's a non-traditional route. After graduating from high school in Texas, she started at a four-year college and left after one semester.
"I just wasn't ready, and I didn't know what I wanted to do," she said.
Instead of pursuing her education, Patty started working in real estate and was making enough money to be independent and own her own home. When her children came along, she made the decision to leave her job and dedicate herself to her family and her children's activities.
Patty got involved with the PTA, a stay-at-home mom support group and even volunteered as a Girl Scout leader. It was these experiences that helped shape her future and inspired her decision to go back to school.
"I realized I wanted to do something meaningful and work in a job that meant something," Sturz said. "But, I couldn't do that without a degree."
For Patty, RACC was a great opportunity to take her core classes and at a lower cost. The daytime classes were also the perfect fit to allow her to not miss any time with her children, with whom she now compares test grades.
She offers some advice to others who are thinking about going back to school.
"It can be a difficult transition from whatever your life was before, but it is definitely worth it and it can be done."