As a single mother, Dawn Karolides ’15 had to work full-time in order to maintain health insurance benefits, but she also had aspirations of completing her bachelor’s degree.
Karolides found a way to reach her educational goal through Merrimack College’s Bachelor of Science in Child, Family and Community Studies program through the Office of Professional Studies. Since Karolides already had her associate’s degree, she was able to complete her coursework in 24 months.
“I chose Merrimack because the class schedule meant I could continue working, the campus location was convenient, and the idea of completing in 24 months was appealing,” said Karolides. “It was also economical for me to have books and meals included through the program.”
In addition to an abundance of faculty and staff support, Karolides found comfort in the cohort model of her curriculum – a concept using small groups of students being placed together in order to create an ongoing support system.
“My cohort was diverse in age and we were all coming from different points in our lives yet somehow we all pushed and pulled each other along,” said Karolides. “Most of us in the program were employed full-time and many had families, but as a group we bonded immediately, and became support for one another.”
Karolides, who also cares for her multi-handicapped son with physical and cognitive impairments, admits that it wasn’t always easy juggling everything.
“I am a perfectionist and while I graduated with a 4.0 G.P.A.,” said Karolides. “I learned to ask for help with my son, and relied on family and personal care attendants to aid in his care. I became adept at power naps, speed reading, but it all worked out, and I was ever so proud to walk at graduation. If I had to choose again, I would still choose Merrimack.”