Mother, Student, and Inspiration

Jennifer Duerkes is the Food Service Director of Roland-Story Community School District. To get this position she had to go back to college with three children in a new state. She struggled with it but came out victorious. While she did her college workload she was also working and raising her children.

Jennifer always tried to spend time with her children even though she had to work and she had college. She found time to take them to places like ledges state park to bond with her children (Katherine, Jennifer, Charles, and Wayne). Photo credit to Katherine Duerkes

What made you want to go back to college?

I wanted to go back to college because I wanted to make a difference in my life and in my children’s lives and do something that I was really interested in.

What do you think going back to college made your children think?

I think my children thought it was kind of cool that I was going back to school. We would study together at the same time and I think it made them see that they can go to college to.

What were your struggles with going to college?

All my struggles with going back to college were trying to use my time wisely and manage it with having three younger kids to take care of and a household to take care of. Plus I was working full-time and doing school full time so trying to kind of my time management skills and things with my kids. I kind of had to take a step back and not be able to do as much with them as I would have liked to because I had to study or work.

Was it easier to go back with your children in their early teens?

I think I have an advantage with my children being in their early teens. Just because they were able to take care of themselves. They could dress themselves, brush their teeth, make simple meals, and help with household chores. If I had had Littles that were you know in diapers, I don’t think that I could have done that.

What was your original plan for your career/major in or after college?

So when I went back to college my major was in dietetics. I changed from dietetics to nutritional science with an emphasis on nutrition and Wellness.

Would you recommend other mothers to follow in similar footsteps as you?

I would say if your passion is something you want to try, or something different definitely go back to school. I wish that I would have finished school when I was younger. So that I could have had my career going and then had kids. I do like that I was able to experience this you know part of my life with my kids and you let them know that they can do this too. I just don’t think you’re ever too old to go back.

Did you ever feel like you had pressures against you? (for being a mother, for being older)

I feel like I did have some pressures against me with having kids and being older. I was one of the oldest in most of my classes.