“It was the first time in 25 years I found myself unemployed” 53-year-old Denise Bay said.
Bay found herself laid off from her job, and to top it off she was a single mom at the time. The 2008 financial crash turned her world upside down. After getting laid off she found herself putting in over a hundred applications. She received zero calls back. She was puzzled, and didn’t know how she and her daughter would survive.
“I knew there was reason behind why I wasn’t getting calls back,” Bay said. “I didn’t have a degree.”
The only other thing she could think to do was start her own business and use the money from the business to help fund her degree.
“I could’ve worked at McDonalds, but then I’d have to get a babysitter” Bay said.
Her business skyrocketed within four years of her starting it. Though Bay had a thriving business, her heart’s desire was to go back to school and finish her degree. She knew that having a degree would add additional security to her life. She was determined to do what she could do to avoid finding herself in back into another financial depression.
Bay returned back to school in 2012, and she’s enjoyed every step of it. She found herself more engaged and passionate in her classes. The knowledge she’s received thus far has kept her mind fresh. She will be done with her degree in the summer and plans on visiting Italy with her family to celebrate her achievement.
This journey hasn’t been a walk in the park, though.
“Sometimes I sit in class and feel like a tornado, but I just keep chopping at the wood” Bay said.
Bay’s primary motivator is her daughter, Christina who is a sophomore at MU.
“I wanted to prove to her that she can do it,” Bay said. “If I can do it and I’m 53 then I know she can do it and be 20.”