LaQuinta’s Purdue Global Story: Finally isn’t the same as too late

LaQuinta seated at a table in a coffee shop, with books and a coffee cup in front of her.

LaQuinta studying at World Cup Cafe and Fair Trade Market in Waco, Texas. (Photo by Kenneth Coleman for Purdue Global)

Purdue Global’s flexible learning helped LaQuinta overcome obstacles and adversity

When I got pregnant my senior year and gave birth to my son Avery my grandmother encouraged me to stay focused on my education. I attended community college part-time but pressed pause when I went to work as a child care teacher to ensure Avery could get care. I did that for 12 years.

After Avery graduated from high school, he encouraged me to focus on myself. In 2016, at 39, I was in a low place. I prayed, “Lord, I don’t want to spend the last six months of my 30s feeling this way. I am ready for a change.”

March 2017 was a turning point. I went to Waco to see family and stopped at Cameron Park. I sat watching a mother and daughter when the girl fell into the river. I jumped up to help, and together we pulled her out. Through tears, the mother thanked me. I felt God was telling me, “This is what I want you to do. Help rescue this generation. Go work with families.”

I contacted Austin Community College and realized I was five classes away from my associate degree. I graduated in May 2018 at age 40. It took me 23 years to complete that leg of my journey, and I knew I could do more.

So, I enrolled at Purdue Global in July 2018. The staff and faculty understood what it’s like to be an adult learner. I graduated with my bachelor’s degree in September 2020 and started the graduate program in November.

The first six months were a struggle. My breaking point was attending four funerals in five weeks. My grades dropped, and I went on academic probation. I was discouraged but kept telling myself, “I didn’t come this far to fail,” and chose to focus on the positive.


I had never experienced anything like the support I felt from Purdue Global — ever. Faculty and staff walked alongside me. Their presence was a lifeline.

LaQuinta Pollard BS Human Services ’20, MS Human Services ’22, Purdue Global

The support I received from Purdue Global during that time was vital to my academic success. It was a lifeline. Faculty and staff walked alongside me. My classmates were encouraging, too. I graduated in February 2022. At commencement, I met Dean Sander, who approved my appeal while I was on probation. I shared my experience with her and expressed my gratitude.

Life happens. How I choose to respond to it is up to me. That is my message to others. Pursue your goals. Don’t let age or circumstance deter you. Once fulfilled, you will be able to say what a dear friend told me: “Finally isn’t the same as too late.”