(MARSHALL) – Trayci Fields’ life changed at 18 when she gave birth to a son.
But, she persevered and will soon call herself a college graduate.
Fields, 25, of Longview, is scheduled to graduate in August with an Associate of Applied Science degree in Professional Office Technology and a Microsoft Office Specialist certification at Texas State Technical College in Marshall.
“We’ve been with Trayci through the tears and the smiles,” said Robert Brown, director of Information Technology Studies at TSTC. “She’s worked hard to earn her way and we’re very proud of her.”
She encountered the typical challenges that young working parents face while balancing child care, employment, studying and classes.
“I was working and had a job and that job kind of took a lot of my time and I was going for an internship as well,” Fields said. “It did get real hard for me when I was supposed to finish, but I prolonged it because I knew I needed to work.”
Carolyn O’Neill, lead instructor in the Professional Office Technology program at TSTC in Marshall, said she admired Fields’ tenacity.
“Of all the classes she took, she worked at the Microsoft certification the hardest,” O’Neill said. “I was very proud of her and the fact that she never quit.”
After graduation, Fields wants to pursue a bachelor’s degree and work in a healthcare setting.
“I will always have a job somewhere and anywhere there is a hospital and clinic,” Fields said. “In this technical program, I can work in office settings and it doesn’t have to be in the medical field.”
And, she hopes she can set a good example for her son, now 6.
“He is already noticing,” Fields said about her upcoming graduation. “I just want him to know that after high school you have to keep going while you are young and don’t stop.”
Fields grew up in Longview and graduated in 2009 from Longview High School, where she played tennis and was in the Science Club.
“At age 14, 15, 16 I knew I was going to college somewhere,” she said. “I didn’t think it would be 25 minutes from where I would come from.”
She was familiar with TSTC because she once lived in Marshall and had a relative who graduated from the technical college.
“They (the faculty) actually helped me so much along the way in the program where sometimes I didn’t know if I was going to pass or not,” Fields said. “They were always encouraging.”
TSTC in Marshall’s Summer Commencement will be at 6 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 19 at the Julius S. Scott Sr. Chapel on Wiley Avenue at Wiley College in Marshall.