Huron, Ohio – Challenges are nothing out of the ordinary for college students. They are plentiful – exams, social acceptance, paying for college — the list can be long. But for some students, the challenges are much more difficult and life encompassing.

For BGSU Firelands student Dorian Evans, the challenges were diverse, but she maintained a simple philosophy through college: “Don’t stop for anything!” Evans will graduate May 4 with a bachelor’s degree in liberal studies and a new outlook on life.

Born in Sandusky, Ohio, only a few miles from the Firelands campus, Evans decided to experience life after her high school graduation. She tried her hand at college for a short period, she maintained several good jobs including one as a flight attendant in Dallas, she got married to a military man and followed his career where it led and she had three wonderful children, but in the end, she returned to Sandusky with her family in 2005.

The realities and financial burdens of life quickly settled in, and Evans knew she would have to earn a college degree to obtain the type of job that was needed to help her husband support the family.

“I was terrified about returning to school,” said Evans, who enrolled at BGSU Firelands at the age of 28. She knew going to school full time, working and raising three children was not going to be easy. “It seemed like every semester, there was a good reason that I should just give up.”

Evans’ college experience brought the challenges of her husband’s loss of two jobs during the six-year period and the financial burdens that followed, the birth of her fourth child and, of course, the standard pressures inherent in earning a college education. “Don’t stop for anything,” she kept reassuring herself.

“Dorian’s attitude has helped her lead our lab operations team, coordinate multiple blood drives with the Red Cross, participate in Firelands College Theatre and promote off-campus community involvement, all while juggling her family life,” said Julie Hamann, Firelands Director of Technology Support Service, who is also Evans’ supervisor at a part-time campus position. 

En route to her bachelor’s degree, Evans also earned an associate of science degree at BGSU Firelands, but found the math course the most challenging. “I’ve never been good at math, but had to laugh when my fifth-grade son stood over my shoulder one day and said he could help me with my algebra class,” she said with a grin.

The occasional help was greatly appreciated, but Dorian’s inspiration to achieve her goals is clear. “It was my children,” said Evans, whose children are now ages 16, 12, 8, and 3. “I wanted to be a role model for my kids. If I couldn’t finish college, how could I expect my children to continue their education?”

With two degrees firmly in hand, she is ready to begin a new chapter in her life. In fact, she has already secured a position as the special events/volunteer coordinator with United Way of Erie County.

“BGSU Firelands has helped me define who I am,” Evans said. “I am not just a mother, or a military wife; I have dreams and goals and now I feel like I have an identity.”   

As she prepares to cross the stage at BGSU Firelands’ 27th annual commencement ceremony, she certainly has a different perspective. “I feel like I am looking backward down a long, dark tunnel and yelling back to others ‘keep coming, it’s much lighter on this side,’” said a visibly pleased Evans. “Oh, and don’t stop for anything!”

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