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“For someone out there who may be thinking about coming back to school after taking time off, Michelle advises: “Just go for it. Take your time, take one or two classes – work your way into it. It’s really a fabulous experience!”
Hometown: West Roxbury, Massachusetts
Major: Early Childhood Education
When Michelle Sheppard arrived on the MassBay campus in 2010, “It was intimidating,” she says. “A lot of the other students – I was old enough to be their mother!” Thanks in large part to the professors she’s met, however, she describes her experience at MassBay as “Fabulous.”
Michelle, 45, is pursuing an Associate Degree in Early Childhood Education. The spring 2013 semester will mark her third year at MassBay, and to date she’s earned 30 credits. She intends to transfer credits from her associate degree to a bachelor’s degree program and become a preschool teacher.
She says she chose MassBay because of its reputation, its tuition, and the commute. Michelle lives in West Roxbury with her husband and their daughter Julia.
“I had been in the corporate world for a long time, but to come back to school and start all over again was a bit intimidating,” she explains. “But the professors were so encouraging, and they’ve really made me feel comfortable. I don’t know if nurturing is the right thing to say, but that’s really how it’s been here. It’s been a fabulous experience.”
Michelle grew up in Philadelphia and met her now-husband when she was 19, when they were in high school. With no ties, they decided to see the world together. They lived in Norfolk, Virginia for a year (“A great little house, right on the beach!”), before coming to Boston. They were 21 and moved to Beacon Hill. “We absolutely fell in love with it.”
Michelle worked as corporate executive travel consultant, while her husband earned three degrees. She enjoyed her work, and says she got to travel the world first class. Her husband earned degrees from Northeastern and Boston College, and he is now an 8th grade English teacher at a middle school in Newton.
In 2001, Julia was born, and the Sheppards decided to leave the downtown lifestyle, moving from Beacon Hill to West Roxbury. As she describes it, Michelle traded her “corporate diva” lifestyle to become a “domestic diva.”
Michelle says her family has been very supportive of her studies. “My husband does the laundry now,” she notes with a smile, and she is doing very well. She proudly points out her 3.967 grade point average. But her biggest supporter may be her 11-year-old daughter Julia.
“She is so cool,” says Michelle. “We do our homework together. I do my presentations for her.”
Michelle says that going back to school “makes me a good role model I think. Julia sees me doing something with my mind. She sees it’s sometimes not easy for me, and so she knows it’s okay if she struggles with her schoolwork too.”
For someone out there who may be thinking about coming back to school after taking time off, Michelle advises: “Just go for it. Take your time, take one or two classes – work your way into it. It’s really a fabulous experience!”
Michelle Sheppard is pursuing an Associate Degree in Early Childhood Development. She intends to transfer her credits to a four-year institution and become a preschool teacher.