Abstract / Synopsis
Being a college dropout wasn’t something to be proud of; it just happened. Life doesn’t always turn out the way we want or expect. Yet, it is often how we deal with defeat that defines us – figuring out when to lick our wounds and when to come back fighting. It took a few years to redefine my dream, start a family, and seem to move forward, but the ache for more was always in the back of my mind. Could I succeed at something at which I had already failed? Going back to school at a community college at the age of 32 when my youngest was six years old, I earned my doctorate the year my oldest graduated with her bachelor’s degree in math. Thirteen years of blood, sweat, and tears. Getting kids on and off the bus, college classes during the day, milk & cookies in the afternoon, soccer mom in the evening, and homework after everyone else was in bed. Learning to balance school and family, and then work and family has given me tremendous insights that I can share with my students, as many of them struggle to find balance in their own lives. This article is a reflection on my experience with motherhood and the pursuit of my dreams; my daughter, now with her own doctorate, brings special insight into what it means to have a mother in mathematics. Looking back, I wouldn’t have changed a thing.
Gochenaur, D. L. and Verbos, R. I. "College Dropout to College Professor," Journal of Humanistic Mathematics, Volume 8 Issue 2 (July 2018), pages 267-275. DOI: 10.5642/jhummath.201802.30 . Available at: https://scholarship.claremont.edu/jhm/vol8/iss2/30