Student Spotlight: Cheryl Cox
"Not only did I do this to better myself professionally and personally, but also to show my own children that anything can be accomplished if we work hard and have faith...."
Friday, January 22, 2016
Cheryl Cox is a graduate student earning her MAT with a focus in English. Here she shares her story about working through difficult circumstances and turning her dreams into reality.
Where are you from?
I am from Bentonville, AR. After high school I went to college and traveled the US, only to come back home 10 years later.
What do you do now?
I work at Washington Junior High School as a Technology Services Specialist.
Why did you decide to pursue your Master’s?
Three-and-a-half years ago, tragedy struck our family. At 36 I became a widow with three boys to raise. I knew I had to do something new, but I didn't know what. At the time I was working at the Administration Office of Bentonville Schools. I often mentioned going back to school, but it was more of a dream than a practical goal. My colleagues, mainly my supervisor at the time, encouraged me to actually pursue it. They knew I loved working with the students and thought that an MAT would be a great choice.
When I was offered a full time job in a school, I knew this was a chance for me to spend more time with the students and find out if that's really where I wanted to be. I love watching the students learn, especially when they discover that they can accomplish more than they expected! A year after I started my job at Washington Junior High, I enrolled at JBU. Not only did I do this to better myself professionally and personally, but also to show my own children that anything can be accomplished if we work hard and have faith in ourselves and God.
Has there been anything particularly interesting or challenging academically, professionally, or spiritually?
Academically, I would say the main challenge has been finding time to complete the work required. I love that I am challenged to think in different ways or develop new ideas on lesson planning and teaching. It's tough, but I know in the end it will be worth it.
Professionally, the hardest part is waiting to complete the program. I love being in the classroom with students, and I am excited to start teaching and working with students every day.
Spiritually, my faith in God is as strong as it has ever been. Although I've had to endure hardships to get to where I am, I know this is part of God's plan for me. He has guided me to this point in my life and I couldn't be happier about the decisions I’ve made. Sometimes my faith in myself is lacking, but my faith in my Creator is strong. When I start to feel the weight of everything life has to throw at me, I try to take a step back and let Him guide my way.
How do you like to spend your free time?
I try to spend as much time as possible with my children. We have been known to turn on music on a Friday night and dance our cares away. Sometimes we pop a huge bowl of popcorn and have a movie night or game night. I love watching them play baseball and sing in the choir (I'm usually the one cheering the loudest).
Who are you learning from right now?
I am learning from everyone around me! I have learned so much from the professors at JBU, but I have also learned from my classmates and the teachers I work with every day. I am blessed to be surrounded by people that want me to succeed and are willing to help and guide me through each challenge I face. I honestly don't think I could do this without all of them!