Ann Gilley: Freshman at 45

While watching her 16-year-old son prepare for his high school graduation, Ann Gilley decided the time was right to pursue her own dreams. Ann, a 45-year-old Mason single mother, was tired of working “one dead end job after another,” and needed a plan.

“I started looking around, and decided the best thing to do is get an education. I felt this would be a good time for me, because my son is very independent.”

But still, it was a big decision. Times were tough, and Ann did not even own a vehicle that would get her back and forth to school. Having not set foot in a classroom for 25 years, Ann was “very, very nervous” to go back to school, and worried she may not be “smart enough.”

“The fear of it is what drove me. Because if you’re not afraid a little bit, then it is probably not worth doing.”

But she need not have worried.

“My first class was great!”

Even though Ann is the oldest student in her classes, she has made new, young friends. She is now pursuing studies in human services at HCUC.

“With my life experience, that degree could help me help other people. My only regret is not doing this sooner.”

It has changed her life.

“I am more positive, more confident. Even my son told me to keep it up! That makes me feel good.”