Managing career responsibilities isn’t all that Romo has had on her plate during the past seven years of working in EIM. She’s also had school. She earned her Bachelor of Science in Management from University of Phoenix in October 2021 and is currently working on a Master of Information Systems degree. A single mom with kids ages 16, 11 and 5 — the youngest of whom has autism — she says her pursuit of a graduate degree is all about doing something for herself.
“You have to want it,” she says, acknowledging that going to school later in life is hard. A typical day involves eight hours of work, grocery shopping, cooking, helping kids with homework, cleaning and then finally doing her own two hours of homework. On weekends, sometimes she has to say no to the activities her kids want to do so that she can catch up on assignments.
“I’ve had many nights of crying, frustration, exhaustion and thinking, ‘I can’t do this anymore,’” she says. “But then I remember I’ve always known this is what I wanted.”
Earning that degree from a school that supports students with flexible online courses made getting what she always knew she wanted that much more feasible for Romo. And now, her MIS degree extends beyond personal goals into professional aspirations. She wants to advance within her corporation, and she feels an MIS may position her to better be able to do that. “Information tech is something I feel broadens my chances of doing more IT work instead of just patient identity work,” she says.
Romo acknowledges she looks forward to regaining free time once she has earned her master’s. A Northern California resident, she loves to take her kids on weekend trips through NorCal, Oregon and other Western states.
The end is in sight. She has eight more classes until she earns her MIS, and she’s on track to graduate in October 2023. “I was a mother at 20. I put education on hold for my children,” Romo says. “When I was 35, I decided I wanted to give myself the ultimate prize. That prize for me is education.”