Today we speak to Victoria Hable, a first-generation college student and mom from Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. Victoria transferred from Harrisburg Area Community College to Rowan College at Burlington College. She will transfer to Rowan University in the fall as part of the 3+1 program. Victoria is majoring in Psychology and will graduate next spring.
Can you tell me a little about the 3+1 program that you’re currently enrolled in?
I’m in the 3+1 program for Psychology. The 3+1 program is going to Rowan College at Burlington County (RCBC) for three years and transferring to Rowan and finishing a bachelor’s degree there for one year. I was a Music Business major at Harrisburg Area Community College. When I transferred to RCBC, I changed my major to Psychology. I had a lot of credits from the Music Business program that my 3+1 advisor Diana helped me work in as some extra electives so it wouldn’t delay my graduation date. From there, I created a plan to complete my last two years of my bachelor’s degree at RCBC and Rowan.
How did you hear about Rowan and what made you want to come here?
I moved to the area two years ago for a change of scenery. I was able to live with family and babysit for them. I started at RCBC in 2018 to finish up community college, and I found out about the 3+1 program while I was there. I started the program when I was a year into my time at RCBC, and that is how I found out about Rowan.
What is it like to balance being a mother with being a student?
It’s difficult. It’s definitely a lot. My son was born with Down Syndrome, so he has a lot of therapies and appointments. Balancing his appointments, my appointments and schoolwork is a lot. I’m not working, so it gives me a little more leeway in my schedule, but my job right now is to take care of him and finish school.
How has Rowan supported you in being a mother and a student?
It was two weeks into the spring semester, last January when I went to Diana, my advisor. I told her I had just found out I was four months pregnant, and I didn’t know what to do with my 3+1 plan. She helped me rearrange my plan to accommodate my being out for six weeks. I was out over the summer, so it only put me behind by two classes. It did not move my graduation date back at all. Instead of encouraging me to take a semester off because I found out I was pregnant, my advisor encouraged me to keep going. Diana was very dedicated to helping me figure out a new plan and stay in college like I wanted. The professors I have had so far are also willing to work with me.
How does your son motivate you to continue to pursue your career?
I had some prenatal testing that was done about five months into my pregnancy, but I didn’t know until my son was actually born that he was 100% going to have Down Syndrome. Last May, I saw that the first student with Down Syndrome graduated from Rowan University last year. That was really cool for me to see, and that gave me more motivation to keep pushing to pursue my career and more motivation that my son might be able to go to college. Seeing that student graduate is also the reason why I decided to name my son Rowen. Rowen is in therapy twice a week, we’re working with him constantly. Seeing his resilience to everything and how he adapts to his environment is a big motivator for me, especially me being a psychology major. Watching him grow and learn new things is so fun, and it just makes me want to learn more about him and more about neuro-psychology.
Do you have any advice for any current or incoming Rowan students that are also moms?
Since COVID has happened, I have met online classmates who are moms as well. But as for advice, if you have a support system, take advantage of it. The school is 100% percent behind you to help. But I think the biggest thing is just to stick with it. Even if it gets a little heavy sometimes.
What are your goals after you graduate?
When I switched my major to Psychology originally, I wanted to pursue my master’s in Psychology. I wanted to apply for the FBI and work in forensics. But since I’m a Mom now, I had to change my path a bit. Now, I eventually want to get into trauma psychology and maybe criminal justice reform.
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