Local mother of 3 achieves goal of graduating college

SWEETWATER, Tenn. (WDEF) — A Tennessee woman and mother will be graduating from Tennessee Tech University on Friday. It’s a dream she has long had, which seemed unattainable for many years.

Tennessee Tech is sharing her story.

Airforce Mom

Bobbie Jo Rose, (Courtesy, Tennessee Tech)

Bobbie Jo Rose is a 39-year-old mother of three from Sweetwater, Tennessee.

She will be earning her degree in interdisciplinary studies on May 5, the college said.

Rose had her first son at 17, which made college seem out of reach.

“I wanted to go to college so bad, but I needed to stay home and take care of him for a couple years,” she explained.

Rose then had two more kids and got remarried.

She credits much of her success to her now husband James.

“It was a whole different world. Instead of me being the sole income for the house, I actually had a partner. I found myself at the right time with the right help to be able to go back to school. I wanted to show my kids that their mom could actually do it.”

Rose had a job as a recruiter for a staffing agency but wanted to advance her career with a degree, she explained to the college.

“I had experience and self-taught educational value but, with a lot of jobs, the first thing they ask for when you apply is a bachelor’s degree,” she said.

She enrolled into Tennessee Tech in fall of 2020. At this point, her children were near adults. One is even in the U.S. Air Force.

Rose added that college was flexible to allow her to continue to work full time. She was also enrolled full-time and took her classes online.

She felt a little uncomfortable since most college students are aged 18 to 22, the age of her children. However, she explained that it ended up working out for the best.

“I think [the option of virtual learning] is a lot better because you don’t have the judgment or fear of sitting with someone one-on-one. You don’t care what they look like. A lot of people say more when they’re behind their computer screens. They open up more and interact with you more and joke with you more,” Rose added. “Learning about new people and new students, where they come from, what they’re looking forward to, and what they’re going to do with their degrees – that was really interesting.”

Rose said her family is excited to see her walk across that stage Friday.

When it comes to her next steps, she says, “I have a personal standard that I’ve been trying to live up to. I know this education is another step for me in trying to reach the top of the staircase.”

Categories: College, Local News, McMinn County