Full name: Becky Horowitz
Timeline at the UofM: Employee April 2012 to present / Student from Fall 2013 – Fall
Major/degree: Bachelor of Science in History
For years I told people my biggest regret was not finishing college. Like many young people, I struggled when I first started college at the age of 18. I didn’t know what I wanted to do and I completely lacked motivation. I stopped with the intention of going back in a few semesters but I ended up going to work and, over time, college was no longer a priority.
I became a single mom to two girls at the age of 31. I had a good job so I felt blessed but, I always felt like an underachiever for not graduating from college like all of my friends. Over the years I went to work for two other colleges before accepting a job at University of Memphis in 2012. By this time, I had remarried, had another child, and my two older girls were almost grown. When my oldest daughter graduated from high school and was preparing to start college I made a bold decision to finally go back and finish my degree. My husband, kids, and co-workers were the best cheering section I could ask for but, after sitting out 28 years, I wasn’t even sure if I was college material.
Working full time and being a wife and mother meant I could only go part-time so I started slow and only took one class a semester for several years. It felt like I would never finish! Eventually I picked up the pace and started taking two classes a semester until I could finally see the light at the end of the tunnel.
I loved every minute of every class I took. My grades were excellent and it gave me more confidence than I could’ve imagined. My dream of a degree was becoming a reality and I was the role model for my girls I always wanted to be. As luck would have it, my oldest daughter transferred to U of M and was going to school part-time while she worked. We eventually approached our finish line at the same time and, after seven years, we were slated to graduate the same semester. We never dreamed when we started college that we would finish together but, at the outdoor ceremony of the Fall 2020 commencement, I watched my daughter, Olivia, walk across the stage in front of me and we both became UofM graduates.
I loved my time as a UofM student and graduating with my daughter will forever be one of the best memories of my life!
Description of image: Photo taken of Becky Horowitz and daughter Olivia Purifoy before the Fall 2020 commencement and one of Becky alone.