After a journey that took 12 years and seemingly countless college hours, Maria Laws received her Bachelor of Science degree in psychology, an accomplishment that causes intense emotions for the Richwood resident.
“It makes me cry every time I think about it,” she said. “It was such a long road but so worth it. So worth it.”
Laws, 47, graduated from the University of Houston-Clear Lake in May, culminating a more than 10-year journey after deciding in 2007 she wanted better career options for herself, she said.
“I had worked out in corporate America for years,” she said. “I was always being passed over for promotions because of not having a college degree. I didn’t graduate from high school. I got a GED.”
She started working to acquire a college degree, but two semesters into her run at Brazosport College, Laws said she discovered she was pregnant again.
“I had to stop,” she said. “I finished one or two classes and I had to stop.”
During these years, her accounting career grew and she became an office manager, Law said.
Still, she knew she wanted to finish her college education, and after several years she returned to Brazosport before transferring to the University of Houston-Clear Lake, Laws said.
“Everybody was very, very helpful,” she said. “I was very surprised. I thought it was going to be harder.”
She chose to study psychology instead of accounting because when you deal with people, in any career, you need to be compassionate and have an open mind, Laws said.
“Psychology opened my mind,” she said. “I really like dealing with people. I really like being around people. Just working with people, I felt like psychology was the best field to go into.”
What makes any employee better is being receptive of others, Law said.
“You have to work with people,” she said. “I really feel like psychology opens our minds to see things from other perspectives.”
Law’s husband, Steven, has been in awe of his wife’s resolve and perseverance, he said.
“Due to life happening, she had to stop and go and stop and go,” he said. “I was very proud of her. It actually inspired me to go back to school, which I am currently in school. It was a very fun, emotional ride.”
She has persevered through her entire education, both the good and the bad, Steven Law said.
“I think a lot of people probably wanted to get their degree, but again, life happens,” he said. “Maybe they were just never told or inspired to go to college. I am so happy for her. It was definitely a family achievement.”
Since graduating, Laws decided to continue her education and enroll in an MBA program, she said.
“After that, to be honest, anything that has to do with benefits within a corporation would probably be really good,” she said. “You are helping them figure out their health-care benefits.”
To think how far she has come and what she can do with her future career now, she feels blessed, Law said.
“It is just a blessing,” she said. “To me, it is just amazing.”