As Thanksgiving approaches, one student is thankful that – after taking years off from college classes — she will graduate.

 “I have one more class to take, so I am thankful I will be earning my bachelor’s degree from Purdue,” said senior Thomasina Wilson, a Communications major.  “I will be graduating in May 2022. I am grateful that I have been able to stay focused these last few years so I can accomplish my goal and get my bachelor’s.

Wilson is an East Chicago native and full-time realtor in Northwest Indiana. She has been working towards her PNW degree for a long time. She married her high school sweetheart and had two children before taking her first class at PNW in 2002.  

“I was looking at my transcript for my GPA, but what it gave me was my whole history in school,” she said. “I had taken a 10-year break. It … made me realize how much time I have wasted. I have gone about life and was not focused. I wasn’t focused on my goal, even though I wanted to finish school.”

In fact, Wilson has started and paused her education several times.

“I took a three-year break, then a one- year break,” she said. “Then I had the audacity to take a five- year break when I was already taking one class.”  ”

She returned to school in 2007, but her commute from Chicago at the time, and a full-time job meant that she could only take one class a semester.

I was still working downtown and wasn’t getting home from the train until 6:30 p.m.,” she said.  “That was the time for the last class. I only had time to attend one class.  So I’ve been at a turtle’s pace taking one class a semester since my work schedule only permitted me to.”

She also had to deal with the stress of a corporate job.

“In 2018, feeling stressed and undervalued in corporate, I decided to take a leap of faith and try something I was more passionate about- a career in real estate,” she said. “I became a full-time, residential-licensed realtor here in Northwest Indiana. This allowed me to attend Purdue full time.”

She admits she could have finished her studies sooner if she had taken more classes online. But she said it did not feel right.

“I did not feel it was beneficial for me to take any classes online. I am more of an in-person learner,” she said. “When we had to go online earlier this year, I was forced to transition. Oh, my gosh.”

But now that she’s in the final stretch, Wilson said she is happy she stuck it out. 

“I’m grateful that I am able to attend the college that is beneficial to my future,” she said.  “Communication benefits my real estate business because I can appreciate the diversity in my clients, communicate effectively, and even help me learn strategies on how to advertise my business on social media.”

Plus, she thinks a PNW degree will help her sell real estate.

“One of my selling points is mentioning PNW when sharing the benefits of moving to area,” she said.