Graduating student: ‘Every struggle was worth it’

Debra Davis

After being told she would never achieve her goals, 50-year-old Debra Davis is set to celebrate earning two master’s degrees  — a journey that was all the more challenging as she cared for her grandchildren and daughter. 

For the past six years, Davis fought tirelessly to complete graduate school while her husband and son were incarcerated.  

During the Dec. 17 fall graduation ceremony, Davis expects to complete her journey of obtaining master’s degrees in adult education and rehabilitation counseling — with a 3.5 GPA.

I was told that I would never be able to accomplish this goal, especially while working full time and trying to maintain everything for myself,” Davis said.

In October 2014, Davis’ son was incarcerated, leaving her as the caretaker of his two children. While stepping in as a mother figure for her grandchildren, Davis also cared for her adult daughter, who has developmental disabilities.  

“This load seemed unbearable,” Davis said. “I felt like giving up. I just wanted to say I am never going to accomplish such an unreachable goal, but little did I know, God had a plan for me.”

Although she encountered setbacks, such as retaking courses, she did what was necessary to keep going.

“In May 2016, my husband was incarcerated,” Davis said. “I felt so alone and abandoned. My focus to study was nearly destroyed. I felt that I’d reached the point of no return where academics were concerned.”

Knowing that her end results would be greater than her circumstances, Davis kept at it. Thanks to the support of her family and the faculty and staff at the university, she made it through the fall semester, bringing her one step closer to walking across the commencement stage.

“I appreciate everyone who helped me in some way or another to achieve my goals,” Davis said. “I also appreciate those who never gave up on me and cheered me on even when I wanted to give up. Every struggle was worth it.”

With two degrees under her belt, Davis plans to become an educational trainer as well as a counselor and therapist. She also aspires to become a bestselling author and entrepreneur, traveling the world to help young children and families dealing with abandonment issues.

“I will take what I have been given and work hard to leave a legacy for not only my children and grandchildren, but others whose lives I will touch along the way.”

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