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QCC Student Embraces College Community

April 2022
  • QCC student Mandy Tetreault

QCC student Mandy Tetreault is making the absolute most of her time at Quinsigamond Community College and she said the key is utilizing everything QCC has to offer.  

When she was in high school, academics fell to the wayside due to family circumstances. She had to get a job and take care of her younger siblings and ended up dropping out during ninth grade.  

Fast forward many years and Mandy was yearning for a better life for herself and her family, so she considered higher education.

“I was a single mom, recently divorced and trying to recover from an abusive marriage while providing for my three children. Going back to school scared me. I was hesitant to enroll in part because of my age and lack of schooling. I did not want to be the oldest student in the classroom or be judged,” she recalled. 

Despite her fears, she enrolled at QCC and hasn’t looked back since. Those fears of being the oldest student are gone.

"That was never an issue or even brought to my attention after enrolling. It has not been easy, but I have gained confidence in myself, in my capabilities, and I can see a future where I will be able to provide for my children, in a field I love.”  

Mandy has always been devoted to caring for others and is now studying early education to continue on this path. She gives credit to Professor of Early Childhood Education Karen O’Neill and Associate Professor of Early Childhood Education Julie Tzipori for supporting her.  

Mandy has thrown herself into the QCC community and it’s made a world of difference for her. She’s participating in various clubs, even becoming president of the Multicultural Club.

When describing the effects of being involved she said, “Having a greater sense of purpose and feeling as though I belong have helped me overcome some of my personal anxieties, which in turn help me to show up for, well, life. I have made progress and come far from where I started. I know now that there is support for me and individuals cheering for me to succeed. I do not have the urge to give up and quit and run.” 

Not only is Mandy involved in activities, but she is also a part-time employee at the Athletic Center. She appreciates that she can customize her work schedule to fit with classes and family life, but also says it is much more than a job.

“Being a part of a place where everyone is welcomed and valued meant a lot. Being present for games and social activities has also been a humbling experience. Seeing individuals come together and care for each other and show that support in different ways is pretty special,” she said.

As one of many QCC students who have children, Mandy has words of advice for parents considering going back to school.

"I strongly urge that you just go for it. There may be times that juggling both roles will be difficult, but doable. The end goal is to better your life and to support your family. There is nothing more rewarding than feeling accomplished and showing your children it can be done. Take your time, make yourself a priority and you will succeed,” she continued.

Embracing the opportunities at QCC has been a part of Mandy's success thus far.

"The aid available, the payment options, the scholarships, the food pantry and the athletic center are there for everyone and are easily accessible. This campus truly does support all students," she added.

We can't wait to see what Mandy accomplishes in the future.