After one semester of college as traditional student and a successful career in the real estate business, Jessica Lesure '14 of Clarksburg, Mass., a wife and mother of four, enrolled at MCLA to follow her passion for philanthropy.
"I did this for me, but I also did this to teach my children the importance of a strong education," Jessica said. "I realized that if I were to take the next real step in my life, I would have to get my degree. MCLA was the clear choice."
When she returned to college last year by enrolling at MCLA, the timing was right for Lesure. The real estate market had crashed, as did her income.
"I went back to college because I knew I could secure another job making the same income, but nothing would be steady," she said. "With a college degree, I will be able to offer my family the steady financial support that is so important."
Lesure dove right into her studies.
"I am right where I belong! I made the dean's list both semesters and I certainly plan on keeping that up. I worked hard for that, and I am really proud," she said.
Every morning, Lesure puts her daughters - ages 13, 10, 8 and 3 - on the bus for school, and heads to her own classes at MCLA.
"It works out great: Even as a full-time day student, I can work my schedule around my children. The entire family does housework. We all know there will be a great reward when we, as a team, are done."
Lesure also takes classes over the summer so that she may finish her degree as soon as possible. An interdisciplinary studies major focused on major gifts, as well as event management and planning, Jessica wants to assist people who want to help others. After she graduates, Lesure will pursue her master's degree.
In the meantime, she is enjoying her MCLA experience. She particularly loves the College's speakers series. In addition to hearing Hardman Lecture Series speaker Laura Ling speak last fall, Lesure attended a breakfast held for the journalist, producer and author.
Ling spoke to the campus, and to the greater community, about being detained by North Korean soldiers along the Chinese-North Korean border in March 2009, where she was reporting on the trafficking of North Korean women.
"I asked her if she would encourage her children to follow the bold moves she made in the name of journalism," Lesure said. "She told me after session that mine was the best question she had ever been asked. That felt really incredible."
Lesure also enjoys MCLA's small class sizes.
"By the end of the semester you have a real dynamic throughout the group. The professors are great and easily accessible," she said.
"Being a non-traditional student has been a great experience. I have a great group of people I would call friends, and have developed friendships with both traditional and non-traditional students that will last for years to come. Isn't that the great thing about college? You come as you are and, if you're not hurting anyone, you're accepted."