By: Lane Cofas | @OttoVeatch
Single-parent Ruth Story continues her education to set a good example for her daughter
Working and attending school is something that many college kids are used to. But imagine attending school full-time, working a part-time job, and raising a family — all on your own.
Ruth Story is a single parent from Baldwin City who has been attending the University and working a part-time job all while raising her daughter, Rosemary.
Story transferred to the University from Neosho County Community College in Chanute in 2008 with her daughter Rosemary, 10. At first, Ruth started out as a part-time student. Juggling day care, work and school was a tough process, and Story withdrew after three weeks of being at the University. She came back in the fall of 2011 and has been at the University full-time ever since.
“I would literally run [from school] to pick [Rosemary] up from class,” Story said. “We would drive to coffee shops at one or two in the morning so I could do my work using the WiFi.”
Her jam-packed schedule and long nights never stopped her from achieving her ultimate goals. Story plans on graduating this December with a bachelor’s degree in Environmental Studies and hopes to start working for the Kansas Department of Wildlife or move somewhere with plenty of recreation for her daughter. She also hopes that the knowledge she has acquired along with her degree will help her to do something positive for the environment.
“I love the outdoors and since childhood, had a deep connection with the natural world,” she said. “I feel like a trapped animal in the city.”
Studying and working in the environment are just a couple of things that have made Story who she is today. Her daughter, Rosemary, is someone who has helped her realize who she is and what is important in life.
“She’s helped me understand myself and the whole world in context,” Story said.
Like many other non-traditional students, Ruth believes it’s important to stick with something when it has been started. She wanted to set an example to her daughter that education is important and something worth finishing. Story said that despite being deeper in debt and farther along as classes go on, she has put enough effort into earning her degree that she felt it wouldn’t be smart to throw all of that away.
—Edited by Emma Seiwert