eVersity Grad is a Study in Perseverance

Nothing worthwhile in life is gained without some measure of determination, as Sherika Williams has demonstrated in her quest to earn her college degree.

“I’ve been wanting to finish my degree for some time now,” she said. “I knew I didn’t have that much financial aid. I was also working, being a single parent and trying to provide for a kid.”

Williams needed to find an opportunity to make the most of the credits she’d already earned and get her to the finish line as quickly as possible.

“I’d also applied for another school before eVersity,” she said. “I didn’t want to have to start all over again. That school wouldn’t take all my credits I already had; I have like 100 and some credit hours from the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff and Philander Smith College.”

While many people share these challenges, not many are willing to go to the lengths Williams was to overcome them.

“I was holding down two jobs while I was doing eVersity,” she said. “At one point when I was working two jobs, I would leave one job and go to the next job. Then I won’t get home until later that night. It was a balance with work and getting the kids ready for school and for bed and stuff at night. It was hard balancing it out.”

Once William’s credits were transferred to eVersity, Williams said studying in an all-online university environment took some getting used to. But, she said, the cooperative spirit of her classmates soon helped her gain her stride.

“Group assignments online were hard at first,” she said. “But we got through the first one; we just exchanged numbers and texted each other and got the assignment done. You just have to get used to it.”

Future’s So Bright

A native of Montrose, Ark., Williams is a behavioral instructor for Methodist Family Health and the mother of two children, ages 8 and 10. She’s winding down her studies at eVersity as she reaches the finish line, but that hasn’t stopped her from thinking even bigger for the future.

“After getting my bachelor’s degree, I was thinking about getting a Master’s degree in either social work or psychology,” she said. “I’ve been leaning towards psychology, but it will be either social work or psychology. I really don’t know right now.”

Whatever she decides about an advanced degree, she said merely attaining a bachelor’s represents a major milestone in her life. She’s proud of the accomplishment, not only for herself, but for the message it sends her children.

“(Graduating) is going to be amazing,” she said. “I feel like when I was going to school I wasn’t where I wanted to be. I had a lot of setbacks, you know? So when I get that degree, that’s going to be amazing. It’s going to be an accomplishment. I finally went through and finally completed my bachelor’s so it’s going to be great.”

And being a good role model to her children was motivation to get it done.

“Earning a degree also tells my kids to never give up,” she said. “It doesn’t matter if you’re 50 or whatever age you are. You always can finish school, no matter what.”