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Education Matters

Melissa Petit: A Young Mother Inspiring Others to Chase Academic Excellence

January 1st, 20161 Comment

Photos by Sean McLennan

By Eden Boutilier

Born and raised in Fort McMurray, Melissa Petit was a perfect candidate to continue her education at Keyano College. At the age of 24 Melissa is now a proud Keyano College alumni and is setting the pace for her 5-year-old daughter Sophia, showing her with dedication comes results. Melissa graduated with an Office Administration Certificate and worked as a Summer Student/General Office Clerk with the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo.

“Going back to school gives you more options in the work force and you get to show your child that anything is possible,” says Melissa Petit.

If you ask any post-secondary education student I’m sure they would agree that excelling at school, juggling a social life and homework, and possibly working a job is not an easy task. Many students here in the Wood Buffalo Region have the added factor of raising and supporting a child; these super-parents seem to do it all with ease and grace, showing leadership to the young minds of tomorrow.

There are many struggles to being a parent and attending College, you often need to time for all of the things you did before pursuing a certificate, diploma or degree.

“Being a parent and attending school is about being able to make time for the important thing and prioritizing. Not only do have to think about school, you have a child to think about as well,” she says. “At the end of the day you have to remember to take care of yourself too, when you are well you are able to take care of the important people in your life and complete the important tasks.”

On top of offering her story to the world, Melissa also shared some tips to being successful in class as a parent. She explains that you need to take all the spare time you get during your classes, breaks and free blocks to get your work done; this gives you the chance to be on-top of your workload and makes you more able to dedicate your home time to your child. She says if prioritize your time you will succeed.

“I had a fantastic time at Keyano College; the teachers were great and very helpful when I had questions,” explains Melissa. “My classes were timed well, giving me the time to get my homework done.”

Melissa believes that the experience of going through College with your child by your side sets an amazing example they can carry with them in life. She explains that a lot of her projects could involve her daughter and sometimes she had the opportunity to show her classes how adorable her pride and joy is.

“I had Sophia when I was 19 years old. Some people might say I threw my life away having a child so young, but my life had just begun when having her. You never know how much you can love a person until you have a baby of your own. And no, it isn’t easy being a young mother, but I wouldn’t have it any other way,” says Melissa.

Now, looking back, certificate in-hand, Melissa sees higher education as a life-changing adventure.

“Being a mother and going to school is not the easiest thing in the world. It is difficult, but when you have a child that looks at you with their innocent eyes you know that you will do anything in the world for that child. To give them a better future and to be able to support that child. It is never too late, no matter how old you are, or what life is throwing at you,” she explains.


So, if you are a parent and contemplating hitting the books again to advance your skills or explore an interest Melissa is sharing her story to inspire you, and she says: “Go for it. There is no better time than now to achieve your goals and be able to provide a better life for your child. It is a chance to gain more knowledge and your child will see that it is never too late to chase a dream,” she says. “It was the best decision I made, going back to school, and if there was another field of study I was interested in perusing, I wouldn’t hesitate to do it all over again.”

Reader Comments (1)

Iggy Goremucheche said on January 14, 2016

Well done Melissa! It's life stories like these that inspire a lot of people who might be facing adversity and not know how to pick themselves up. I am sure your experience at Keyano can be shared by many students from this college. Wishing you all the best in your future endeavours... You are an example of what's possible with hard work,dedication and focus. Best wishes !!

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