Even when everything seemed to go against Terra State alumna Nicole DeFreitas, she was able to turn things around and make it through with flying colors.
DeFreitas grew up in Port Clinton and lives there today. She graduated from Port Clinton High School and immediately enrolled as a student at Eastern Michigan University. However, she found out she wasn’t ready for college so soon after high school and dropped out. After that, she knew she needed to go to a community college, and Terra State, which was called Terra Technical College at the time, was the natural choice for her.
When DeFreitas was a child, she attended her parents’ photography classes at Terra State. This made the College feel like a familiar and enjoyable atmosphere for her. This, as well as the fact that Terra State accepted her as a non-traditional student, were the reasons she chose to enroll.
In 2006, DeFreitas graduated with an Associate of Individualized Study with a concentration in Business Management and Behavioral Science. “It took me 10 years to graduate from here because of some life struggles, but this was always my safe place to come back to.” She remembers commencement vividly: swollen feet from being eight months pregnant, graduating with her husband who was homeless at the time and was going through a tough time in general. “Terra was his saving place too,” she said.
DeFreitas was the first person in her family to graduate high school and the first to graduate college. This, she explained, made getting through college more difficult than she anticipated. She had to figure out what classes she needed, how to submit assignments on a deadline, how to pay for college and everything else on her own. Many instructors helped her along the way. She specifically thanked Mary Jo Jay, her advisor, who she still communicates with today. “She was my advisor the entire 10 years I attended and she changed my life. She always welcomed me back and helped me figure things out.”
She is thankful for the financial help she could get from Terra State. “Luckily, at Terra, there are a lot of great scholarship opportunities and financial aid to help figure out how to pay for college, which is usually the biggest obstacle.” She is also grateful for the chance to have worked at Delphi Automotive Systems in Sandusky, which helped pay for some of her tuition.
After she graduated from Terra State, she was able to transfer her credits to Bowling Green State University (BGSU) where she earned a Bachelor of Science and two Masters Degrees. “Out of all the degrees I have, the one from Terra is the one I’m most proud of,” she said.
Average Length of Study
2 years, Full time
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