Working mother proves it’s never too late to complete your degree
Gazala Momin grew up Chicago, just a few blocks from Loyola’s Lake Shore Campus. She graduated from Senn High School in the 1990s and then started college.
But after getting married and having a child, she put aside her studies to raise her son and work part-time as a paralegal while her husband finished college and went to medical school. (He is now in the U.S. Army, completing his residency in Texas.)
A few years ago, Momin decided it was time for her to return to college—and she graduated May 4 from Loyola’s School of Continuing and Professional Studies with a bachelor’s degree in management and a certificate in paralegal studies.
Here, she talks about life as an adult learner, why Loyola was the perfect fit for her, and what it felt like to finally earn her degree.
What brought you to Loyola?
I actually got accepted at a few other colleges, but I wasn’t comfortable with them. They just weren’t a good fit for me. So I did some online research and found Loyola. And the more I looked into it, the more I realized that the program was exactly what I was looking for.
I didn’t want to start college all over again, and a lot of universities won’t give you credit for classes you’ve already taken. Loyola was different. They gave me credit for everything I had taken, which was great. I wanted a school that would take me on my terms—and Loyola did.
What was it like juggling work and life and school?
There were days that were definitely a challenge. I’d go to work downtown, leave to pick up my son from school, take him home, and then go back downtown for classes. I think the professors at Loyola realize that most of us are juggling a lot of different things, so they give you a manageable amount of work. It’s not easy, but it’s not impossible either.
How did it feel to get your degree after all these years?
It was great. I was very excited. My son was excited, too. He was like, “Mom, you did it!”
Any big plans now that you’ve graduated?
I’m thinking about going to law school, and this gave me a little idea of what it would be like. I’ve always wanted to be a lawyer, and I’d love to practice family law.
And finally, what advice would you give someone who is thinking about going back to college?
You can do it. It takes some time and effort, but it’s possible. I never thought I’d go back and finish school, but I did. And it was a great experience.
• Watch another SCPS graduate discuss his time at Loyola—and find out what his degree has allowed him to accomplish.
More Featured Stories
Health SciencesLoyola University Chicago health sciences researchers have received a $500,000 grant for a 10-year study to improve the health of low-income minority residents in communities surrounding the University’s Health Sciences Campus in Maywood.
March 19-21Loyola University Chicago’s second annual Climate Change Conference moves beyond the debate of whether global climate change exists to the theme of tending to our ever-changing planet.
Visit usWant to learn more about Loyola and see its beautiful campus? You’re in luck, thanks to this new interactive virtual tour.
In the newsRobert A. Seal, dean of university libraries at Loyola University Chicago, is the 2015 ACRL Academic/Research Librarian of the Year. The award recognizes an outstanding member of the library profession who has made a significant contribution to librarianship.
Arts & SciencesFor the past few years, members of Loyola’s Chemistry and Biochemistry Department have taken part in Project SEED, a program that gives high school students a first-hand look at life inside a laboratory.
QuinlanQuinlan’s annual Whiteboard Competition gives students three minutes with a whiteboard and felt pen to pitch their ideas and inventions. And in April, Quinlan will launch a new challenge for budding entrepreneurs.
Giving backLate last fall, when most professors were handing back papers, one Quinlan instructor did something a little different: She gave out money. See how Jenna Drenten’s gesture in honor of her late sister inspired her students.
Arts & SciencesLoyola students studying science or math will get a chance to start their research earlier than ever—thanks to the University’s new First-Year Research Experience, which lets undergraduates work directly with faculty members.
ResearchLoyola psychology professor Grayson Holmbeck has been studying children with spina bifida for more than 20 years. In that time, he says: “We’ve learned a lot about what their problems and issues are, what we can do to help them, and more importantly, what they’re capable of.”
QuinlanSee how Quinlan students turned a tragedy into a learning opportunity—and a chance to save lives.
Professor profileQuinlan Professor Nenad Jukić was named Loyola’s Faculty Member of the Year on September 14 as part of the University’s Faculty Convocation. This latest award caps off a string of impressive accolades for Jukić, who also was named Quinlan’s Outstanding Undergraduate Teacher of the Year.
AcademicsLoyola is one of just 283 universities to have a Phi Beta Kappa chapter, a claim that only about 10 percent of the nation’s colleges can make.
SustainabilityLoyola is ranked No. 4 on the Sierra Club’s 2014 list of the greenest colleges in America. The annual rankings are designed to spotlight universities that are deeply committed to environmental responsibility.
In the newsLoyola’s Information Commons joins an elite group of peers on Business Insider’s list of the “coolest” college libraries in the country.
ExploreThe Institute of Environmental Sustainability combines academics and research with agriculture and community living—all in one facility.
Damen CenterThe Damen Center was designed from top to bottom with students in mind, making it the center of social life on Loyola’s Lake Shore Campus.