Making a better life for me and my son

Gwenn Crittle


When I graduated two years ago from a community college with my associate’s degree in journalism, my son was there. He even wore my graduate medal.

I cannot wait for him to see me graduate from CSUN with my bachelor’s degree.

Graduating from junior college was special, especially since I graduated high school in June 1999 and did one semester at Santa Monica Community College before joining the Navy in February 2000. I lived in Japan the first two years of my military service, came back to the U.S. in 2002 and finished my last three years of active duty on the Coronado Naval Base in San Diego. Afterward, I found my way back to school in San Diego trying to better my life for both my son and me.

I decided it was time to finish what I failed to do the first time after graduating high school. Being back in school wasn’t a challenge for me at first. My son was 3 years old and about to turn 4 when I began college for the second time and he really didn’t miss me too much because he was in preschool. I was so motivated then and not to say that I am not motivated now, it’s just that my son needs me now more than he did when I first came back to college.

I am ready to graduate so he can see that education is important, at any age. I am laying the foundation for him. I want him to have a strong start and know that there are no excuses – I won’t let him make any excuses. I know that raising him as a single parent many people think it puts my son at a disadvantage. The disadvantage being him not having the two-parent household some say kids need to succeed. They think that he may not even go to college as a result of his household structure.

I disagree. Seeing me, his mother the single parent, graduate again but this time with the achievement from a university, will not cripple him. I always do the very best by my son. I know how I struggled through school and I will not let that happen to my son and I know he knows that.