Education: The Greatest Gift of Love
Jamel and Jennifer have become more than husband and wife. They became adult students, which has turned their marriage into a more fruitful partnership. Together, they are making their dreams come true by pursuing an online degree at JCSU’s Metropolitan College of Professional Studies.
Jamel and Jennifer Herring
Jamel and Jennifer have found a new dimension of love that is already transforming their lives as a married couple and parents of five kids. Even with a full house and a full time job, they still found a way to pursue their education goals and make some room for their self and joint improvement.
Fourteen years ago Jennifer started college at Johnson C. Smith University. However, at the time, Jennifer took some time off from the classroom to raise her first daughter. Then, life got busy, and her plans to go back to school were put on hold, but she never lost hope. In the case of Jamel, his decision to join the Marine Corps right after finishing high school took him on a journey that at the time didn’t leave any room for college education.
Time went by and both Jamel and Jennifer developed their lives and achieved many successful endeavors. Jamel became a professional boxer after serving as a marine and in 2012 represented USA as a boxer in the Olympic Games. Jennifer attended different training programs and landed a great opportunity as an IT support services representative. However, there was always that thought on the back of their minds that made them wonder what else could they do to get to the next level and unleash their full potential.
“I have always loved my HBCU. I really wanted to go back to JCSU and finish what I had started, but now I live in Ohio. Also, several relatives are Smithites, so JCSU is really part of our family. Even my 13 year old daughter wants to go there,” said Jennifer. She never lost hope that one day she was going to be able to finish what she started, but she needed a certain set of conditions that would allow her to make her dream come true, which inevitably involved being able to do a degree online, given that she is now in Ohio and her schedule is packed.
“In my case, I hadn’t been in college before until now, but I always wanted to improve my ability to excel in what I do”, said Jamel. As a professional boxer, he has he has acquired the knowledge and experience to become an athlete manager and help others achieve a successful sports career. “I know that in order to pursue this goal, a business management degree will be extremely beneficial and my wife has fueled my desire to advance my career through reinforcing my education”.
Here is where love and true unity in marriage comes, because Jennifer has not only kept her dream of higher education alive, but she has also encouraged her husband to go for it too. “Jennifer is the one who has supported me and motivated me to go to college as an adult and it has been great to pursue this goal together, as a team”, added Jamel.
“To me it was very important to finish my degree and I was always talking to my friends, who are JCSU alumni, if there were any online programs, considering that I had moved to Ohio, because I really wanted to get my education at an HBCU. Finally in 2010, I heard that Metropolitan College was offering not only online programs, but also flexible schedules, personalized attention and an adult centered and accelerated program. I thought to myself that this was our opportunity to take on the challenge”, said Jennifer.
Marriage takes work, and is already a big task, especially considering that Jamel and Jennifer have five children, between the ages of thirteen years and eleven months old. But they both have agreed that through this endeavor they have been able to further strengthen their bond. “This project has connected us in a very deep and meaningful manner. It has also allowed us to give a good example to our children and serve as role models for them”, said Jennifer. Jamel agrees that it has helped them get closer as a family, as they spend more time with their teenage daughter sharing homework time together and relying on each other to study.
Both Jamel and Jennifer agreed that the online platform at Metropolitan College is very friendly. They have also been able to develop a good relationship with the staff, who they say are very responsive and have become instrumental in their progress throughout their journey. “This modality works for me because I am traveling for work and I need the flexibility. My wife has been so supportive throughout my boxing career, and now she is my biggest source of motivation on my higher education journey,” said Jamel. Jennifer added that her advisors have been very supportive, “they have been there for me all through the way, especially when I faced some health issues when having my youngest child. That made me feel like I want to continue persevering to finish my degree at Metropolitan College”.
Jamel is currently enrolled in the business management program, while Jennifer hopes to be able to re-enroll in the near future. After graduating, Jennifer would like to apply for a promotion as a supervisor at her current workplace. She is confident that she will have a good chance because a bachelor’s degree is a requirement for such higher positions. “A college degree will make me more competitive in the job market,” said Jennifer.
Jamel and Jennifer represent what being a non-traditional student is all about, as it involves commitment, focus, developing organization skills and making sure you put your support network to work in your favor. At the end of the day, this is what true love is all about, being there for your loved ones, the same way they will be there for you! Happy Valentine’s Day! And to all our readers out there, why not give your sweetheart the gift of a lifetime, the gift of a college degree? Just a thought! If you have any questions, please contact us at anytime, our staff will be happy to assist you.
Damon Miller, Enrollment Manager & Community Relations Specialist
Tarji Caldwell, Enrollment Processing Specialist
Jessica Taylor, Enrollment Processing Specialist
Jamel and Jennifer Herring are the proud parents of five: Kamren Herring-13, Stephen Herring-10, Jamel Herring Jr.-7, Jazmyne Herring-4, Justice Herring-11 months. They are both originally from New York, and are currently residing in Cincinnati, Ohio.