By Sandra Cross

I just wanted to share a story in hopes that it might inspire other people who think they cannot earn a college degree. When I was two years old, I underwent open-heart surgery and my parents were told that I had a one in a million chance of surviving it. It was a year before the heart lung machine came out. All through elementary, junior high and high school, I had to keep going back for check ups and had a few other problems with my heart. It caused me to miss my high school graduation ceremony. I was also told that I could not have children because my heart could not take the extra weight gain through the pregnancy. I went to work after high school not thinking I had what it takes to go to college. I worked as a sales manager and finance manager and after 30 years, once again I had some major health problems. I was put on disability and went nuts doing nothing.

Sandra Cross (center) celebrates her graduation with friends. Submitted photo

My daughter who was a pre-law student at LCCC “tricked” me into enrolling. I went to the college with her to get her books for the semester and the next thing I knew, I was taking the compass test, signing up for classes and walked out with my college ID. I was scared to death since it was 38 years since I had been in a classroom. Luckily my professors made it very easy to transition and were very helpful and I made the Dean’s List my first semester.  I have just graduated from LCCC with my Associate of Arts degree and am going on to Penn State this fall to work toward my Master’s Degree in Psychology/Gerontology.

I have found that I love learning and it is greatly influencing my children and grandchildren. My daughter will be finishing her law degree, my son is currently a student at LCCC and so is my granddaughter. It has made me very proud to be a positive influence for my children and show them that an education is important at any age. To everyone out there who thinks they cannot go to college, LCCC has all the resources and help that they need. It is such a wonderful college and we are very lucky to have it in Lorain County. I am very proud to say that I have overcome many obstacles in life and am the proud mother of two children, grandmother of six and an LCCC graduate!