Katrina Williams-1

BC student faces adversity head on in search of Associate degree

BC student faces adversity head on in search of Associate degree

Fri Aug 7, 2020

Katrina Williams-2

Katrina Williams

Katrina Williams knew she had to make a change the moment she woke up in a hospital bed.

Ten years of addiction had taken its toll and she couldn’t do it anymore. She had to change her lifestyle. She had to do it for her son, for her family, for herself. She was sure about this. What she didn’t realize at the time was the role Brazosport College would play in this change.

“I was in the hospital on all these machines and I just said that I can’t do this anymore,” Katrina said. “That was it. I didn’t want to die like that.”

Today, Katrina is nearly eight years clean and sober, and determined to never return to that lifestyle.

But things are far from easy for her. Since moving to Clute with her son more than a year ago, she has made ends meet by working hard in low-paying jobs. Although she doesn’t have a car, she takes advantage of the local bus system to get around the community.

This is where she first came in contact with Brazosport College.

“The bus has a stop at Brazosport College and I would always see this school,” Katrina said. “I’d think to myself about how I would like to go back to school. So I came in, got an application and held on to it. The next week I came back and talked to a counselor and, three months later, I started here.”

At the age of 43, Katrina just completed her fifth semester at Brazosport College and is taking advantage of everything the College offers.

She’s used the Student Success Center for tutoring services, as well as the financial aid office for assistance with tuition and books. She’s even used any extra financial aid funds to help with apartment rent.

She’s also received assistance from BC’s Gator Mart, which has helped her with groceries and other essential supplies. All BC students who are currently enrolled or have been enrolled in the past year are eligible for food from Gator Mart. Gator Mart is currently only operating in mobile distribution due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Please check the College webpage, social media accounts or email basicneeds@brazosport.edu for the most up-to-date distribution schedule and policies.

The pandemic also affected Katrina when it forced all classes online this past spring. Not only had Katrina never taken an online course, she also didn’t own a computer. With assistance from one of her professors, Kristen Hedrick, and BC’s Information Technology department, she was able to get a laptop and make the transition to online classes, which allowed her to successfully complete the Spring semester.

Overall, Katrina discovered that online learning wasn’t as difficult as she was afraid it would be. In fact, she has registered for classes this coming Fall, with some of her courses being online.

“We have to conquer our fears and I faced mine,” Katrina said. “I thought about dropping last semester, but I found out that I could do it.

“You don’t have to get dressed up for online classes,” she added with a laugh. “I loved that.”

Katrina’s five semesters at Brazosport College has been a lot of work, but she believes everything will pay off once she receives her hard-earned associate degree, which, if all goes according to plan, could come as soon as 2021.

“A degree would mean so much to me,” she said with a smile. “It would mean I could pay my rent and not be behind. This might sound crazy, but I want to be able to go into a store and buy something I don’t need. I want to know how that would feel.”

Katrina chose Brazosport College for the opportunity to make a fresh start and to get on track for a brighter future. When all is said and done, however, she believes that BC will mean much more to her than just a degree.

“We’re all subject to fall down, but you have to get back up and dust yourself off,” she said. “At first, I was a little scared to go back to school at my age, but I knew I could do it. Brazosport College has gone above and beyond my expectations. Most of the professors know my name and you can talk to them about anything.

“That’s what I love about it here and why I decided to stay,” she added. “This is a community college, but I think it’s more like a family.”

Registration is ongoing for Brazosport College’s 2020 Fall semester. For more information, visit www.brazosport.edu/choose or call the college’s main switchboard at (979) 230-3000.