Hannah H. 

Criminology and Criminal Justice Degree Program

"2020 started for me like it did everyone else, it was a new year with goals and new obstacles to overcome. I was finishing my last semester in person full-time, before graduating with my A.A.S in Criminal Justice with high honors from Lewis and Clark Community College. I was very active on campus being the President of the Veterans Club and Secretary of the Student Government Association. This was a lot to handle on top of being a new mom but I was conquering it. That was until the pandemic hit, then like mostly everyone else my life completely changed. My mental health started going downhill fast, I immediately reached out for any help I could get. I used the down time that I was forced to have at home to bond more with my son and focus on improving my mental health. When I transferred to UMSL in the fall, I was at least able to participate in the veterans work study program on campus and attend one in person class. My son unfortunately was bit by our dog during the first few weeks of school, he had to get 18 stitches in his face. My grandmother then ended up passing away right before finals..... I survived that crazy semester and it is only for one reason, UMSL. Thanks to ensuring that I openly communicated with my professors every step of the way, my professors in return worked with me every step of the way. Never did they shame me, rush me, or turn an open ear away. With an extreme amount of dedication and motivation I was able to survive that semester and keep pushing to finish my B.S. in Criminology and Criminal Justice next year. I had to sacrifice sleep, time with my relatives and friends, in the end it has been worth it. My advice for other student parents is too always be open and honest with professors, ask for help. If you know you might be a day late on a paper, don’t over stress yourself and just ask a few days ahead for an extension. The first words my academic advisor Jennifer Richardson said to me was “omg Hannah, you gotta be kind to yourself!!” and I truly wish that she could impart those words on all student parents. What we are doing is definitely not easy but worth it, it is okay to have hard times just remember it will all work itself out."