Mother and daughter graduate from Columbus Technical College Nur - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

Mother and daughter graduate together from Columbus Technical College Nursing Program

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COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) -

"Fall four times, but stand up the fifth time," said Tracey Evans, 51, who just graduated with an Associates Degree from the Nursing Program at Columbus Technical College (CTC). 

Evans was not alone in accomplishing this dream. She graduated with her 22-year-old daughter Kaitlin Elsey, who also earned her Associates degree in the same program.

Evans said it took her about 10 years to accomplish this goal. She applied to the Nursing program at CTC four times. Even though Evans has experience as a surgical technologist, she wanted her degree. She was even enrolled in Columbus State University when she was 47-years-old, but was unable to complete the program at the time.

"It was my dream to earn my degree," Tracey said. "I was not going to quit. My family has always been there to encourage me, too. My husband said he was okay with me trying again if I couldn't graduate this time again."

Evans got married when she was 20-years-old, and had her first child when she was 22. She had to postpone her college plans until her kids grew-up. She has also been diagnosed with ADHD, and says this prevented her from going to college sooner.

"Back in my days, there was not much to help ADHD," Evans explained. "I felt so stupid all my life, because there was a negative stigma with ADHD. I got on medicine in middle school, but it took me a while to realize that I'm not stupid. I can overcome ADHD. I think I wanted to prove that to me more than anything. I can get my degree because I am not stupid."

Evans said crossing the stage on her graduation night to receive her diploma was a surreal experience. She had to keep asking her family and friends if this was really happening.

"I can't get a grip of this yet," said Evans. "I spent so many years trying to make this day come true. It happened, and now it's done. It almost feels weird."

Evans and her daughter were both accepted into the CTC Nursing Program about two years ago. Elsey said she was happy for her mother, but she also didn't know how people would react.

"I was worried that people would say it's weird for us to go to the same school, and take the same classes," Kaitlin said. "But it wasn't weird at all. We studied together, drove together, and we understood the stress of the Nursing Program. We helped each other out."

Elsey said this was an experience that not many other students have had. She said it was fun to sit with her mother in class, and walk the stage knowing she was right behind her.

"I watched my mother be discouraged when she couldn't earn her degree," Elsey recalled. "As I was getting older to graduate high school, I told my mom that she was just waiting for me to go to college with her.  I told her the right timing was coming. It really did come, but I didn't think in million years that we would actually go to the same school and graduate together."

Evans wants to be a nurse in an emergency room, or operating room; Elsey wants to be a labor and delivery nurse.

Evans said this Christmas will be different from the previous ones. She does not have to worry about studying or worrying about getting her degree. Evans and Elsey can both use their degrees to open the next chapters of their lives.

"I speak with women my age who say they wish they could've done something," Evans added. "I tell them to go for it. Age is nothing. Will you regret going after your dream? I don't know. But you'll never know until you try. Just do it."

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