MARIETTA, OHIO (December 6, 2018)—“Don’t let your circumstances define you.” That’s sound advice from Amanda Harvey, the December Student of the Month at Washington State Community College (WSCC).
This is the encouragement she gives to her fellow students as well as the principle she applies to her own life. Harvey is a nontraditional student, which means she didn’t enroll in college directly from high school. In fact, she delayed her enrollment by a decade while she stayed at home to raise her son Aaden.
A Business Management Technology major, she is forthright about the fears she had about regards to enrolling in college. “Making the decision to go back to school was terrifying for me. I have been out of school for over ten years.” Her fears of going to college are further compounded by the fact that Harvey is legally blind.
Unhindered by any obstacles, Harvey has established herself as an exceptional student and leader. Her 4.0 GPA landed her an invitation to join Phi Theta Kappa, the national honor society of community colleges, for which she now serves as the Vice President of Service. “Amanda is one of the best Vice Presidents of Service that our chapter has ever had, and is the epitome of a servant-leader,” proclaimed Brad Merritt, WSCC Professor and PTK advisor. “She has a ‘can do’ attitude. Regardless of the task at hand, Amanda takes a leadership position and is a great organizer.” He went onto describe her as someone who obviously wants to help others and the community. “She leads by example,” he continued.
Harvey attributes her success in the classroom to hard work. “I am a successful student because I work hard and use self-discipline to push myself hard.” Moreover, her dedication to her studies is spurred on by her desire to be an example for her son. “Having my son, Aaden, look up to me is my biggest motivation to succeed as a college student.”
She goes on to encourage other nontraditional students who are thinking of pursuing a degree, “You can accomplish big things by believing in yourself. I am a single mom without a [driver’s] license. If I can make it happen, anyone can.”
Harvey anticipates graduating either next fall or the following spring with aspirations of a position with a local government agency. “I would like to work in an office for a year to gain knowledge and experience. This will give me the opportunity to learn from others and understand what the job entails.”