In 2017 Jasmine Spear received the first The Women Of Quail Creek (TWOQC) Women in Transition (WIT) Scholarship for $1,000 to obtain a bachelor’s degree in public health. A stay-at-home mom of three with an associate’s degree from Pima Community College, Jasmine was taking courses at Brigham Young University, financing them by giving voice lessons from home.
In 2020 Jasmine was awarded another WIT scholarship for $2,500. She had received a bachelor’s in public health from Brigham Young, but her goal was to continue her education. Now in 2023, we were eager to follow up.
Hi, Jasmine! Tell us about your current job.
I’ve been a critical care nurse in a medical ICU for over a year. Working with high-acuity patients is rewarding and challenging. Holding a patient’s hand as they pass or supporting someone through great suffering night after night is indescribable. I love what I do, but it’s an emotionally and physically draining job.
How far had you progressed in your goals when you received your second scholarship?
I was just finishing my bachelor’s degree. During COVID, there was no real graduation, which was disappointing, but I was able to experience that when I got my master’s degree. Having my husband, children, and family there to celebrate my hard work was amazing!
How did mentoring help?
Having someone in your corner is so important! Higher education is a journey and, like any journey, there are twists and turns. It’s helpful to bounce ideas off someone with life experience. I remember at one point doubting my original career plans, but lunch with my TWOQC mentor helped me figure out the best path. Doubt arises, confidence waivers, but encouragement helped me push through the difficulties.
What was your greatest struggle during this process?
Isolation! I’m a wife and mom of three active kids. I’ve been in school for several years while working part time. Now I work full-time nights. It can be socially lonely. I probably have not truly overcome this challenge, just accepted it. Working toward a goal required sacrifices, but I’m fortunate that my small tribe of family and friends understood how hard I was working and supported me no matter what.
What was your proudest accomplishment?
I’m proud that I’ve gained confidence! Going back to school as a middle-aged woman was difficult. I had to put aside negativity and judgments and just forge ahead. Being in class with people almost half my age and younger professors was uncomfortable initially, but I put aside my pride. Leaving your comfort zone is always disconcerting, but ultimately rewarding.
What advice would you give women facing these challenges?
Resilience is key! There will always be reasons not to reach your goals. I had so many hurdles and setbacks to overcome; days I sat at my computer and cried. I even had to finish the last month of one semester with a concussion and spinal injury. But the ability to spring back when life knocks you down brings success. Be tough and determined. Surround yourself with a support system to lean on during hard moments. Getting an education requires sacrifice but is a worthwhile investment!