College 

Remy Branscomb: Reinventing Her Life

Remy Branscomb could have had a lucrative career as an auto mechanic. She had been to trade school, completed an apprenticeship and had worked as a mechanic for four years.

But then she decided to go back to school for an associate degree—in liberal arts. She completed her studies at Ivy Tech in May.

Branscomb grew up on the west coast of Canada and initially worked as a mechanic there. After meeting her future husband and moving to Fort Wayne, she decided that she didn’t want to work on cars anymore. She preferred spending time with people. She had been able to get her “people fix” in Canada by teaching swimming lessons at night, but her credentials didn’t transfer here. She realized that she had especially enjoyed helping adults overcome their fear of water.

“My biggest struggle was the decision to leave a career where I could be making money and had the option of a comfortable life, but [where I would be] unfulfilled,” she says. “It was a mental battle.”

“Branscomb grew up on the west coast of Canada and initially worked as a mechanic there. After meeting her future husband and moving to Fort Wayne, she decided that she didn’t want to work on cars anymore. She preferred spending time with people.”

She is now considering a career in social work, counseling or criminal justice. She plans to pursue a bachelor’s degree in psychology at Purdue University Fort Wayne and possibly a graduate degree in forensic psychology.

Branscomb was lucky that she could rely on her husband’s salary from his advertising job to carry the couple. She also cobbled together several part-time jobs, ranging from cabinet-making to working as a nanny. “At times, it has been very difficult to juggle,” she says.

She and her husband have had to focus more on managing their money and have cut back their spending. “Now, when we have our little splurges, they’re planned,” she adds.

Her advice to anyone going back to school is to take things one day at a time and believe in yourself. “When the going gets tough, you’re stronger than whatever is thrown in your way. You can overcome anything,” she says.

Being in college has taught her a lot about herself, such as discovering that she is a leader and a writer. She has given presentations on campus, teaches classes in physical training and holds a black belt in Taekwondo.

She did not go to college after high school because she didn’t think she could hack all the writing. But at Ivy Tech she took an English class during her first semester and performed so well that she eventually was hired as a supplemental instructor.

“So, after the crippling fear of [writing], I excelled and even got a job out of it,” Branscomb says. “I share that story any time anyone is anxious about writing. I chose a different career to avoid it and look at me now.”

You Can. Go Back.

More than 700,000 Hoosiers have some college experience but did not complete a degree for one reason or another.

Are you one of them?

You Can. Go Back. is a statewide campaign connecting returning adults to 30 Indiana public and private colleges, often with special programs and incentives like flexible class schedules, online courses, college credit for work and military experience, debt-forgiveness and scholarships and tuition discounts. State grants of $2,000 are available for qualifying students.

Visit youcangoback.org to find your best school match and learn about exclusive incentives.

Learn for FREE

Learn—just for fun or even to increase earning potential—at no cost, online.

Just do a quick Internet search. Type in the topic “keyboarding skills” and you’ll find lessons at Typing.com and dozens more. YouTube videos can teach you everything from how to carve a turkey to car repair. For more academic pursuits:

Coursera offers almost 2,000 free courses from some of the world’s leading universities.

Salesforce self-paced, online training for widely used, CRM (customer relationship management) products.

Founded by Harvard and MIT, edX offers both free and low-cost classes, some leading to certificates or a “micro-master’s” degree.

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