Graduate Spotlight: Candice Priest

Every day, Candice Priest’s son has been running into her room reminding her how many days until she’d walk the stage at Ivy Tech Fort Wayne and Warsaw’s graduation. It’s an accomplishment two years in the making, and Candice is so ready to graduate with her associate in Business Administration.

2023 Student Commencement Speaker, Candice Priest

“I used to think it wasn’t realistic, like working and being a mom and going back to school,” Candice says. “But then I realized in order to do what I wanted to do, I had to go back.”

Candice worked for a few years in the hospitality industry as a hotel manager. The COVID pandemic prompted industry layoffs that unfortunately affected her. However, there was a silver lining because it meant she could find a job that didn’t need her to be on call 24/7, allowing her more time with her kids.

“I knew I wanted to go into human resources. So, I looked up what I needed to do to fit the job requirements, and that’s how I ended up at Ivy Tech.”

What initially attracted her to Ivy Tech was the flexibility of classes being online because she knew it’d be hard for her to try to attempt in-person only courses. She says she’s so grateful for her advisor because they sympathized with her situation and were extremely accommodating.

“At Ivy Tech, I wasn’t just a number or a college student only balancing school. They really do a great job working with you and your life.”

The last couple years haven’t been easy, but Candice has a strong support system of family, friends, and most of all, her three children. There were times when she felt overwhelmed and thought about quitting, but they were all there to reminding her that why she was even in college in the first place.

“It is so much easier for us to tell ourselves to give up. But just do it because you’ll get through it. Somedays you’re going to have to take it day by day and really slow down. Give yourself grace to make a mistake. I didn’t do that, but I’m just lucky to have people who reminded me to do that.”

When picturing her dream job, Candice would love to work in HR for a hotel. However, she’s ready to accept whatever HR position comes her way. Despite graduating with her associate, she’s also working on a human resources certificate, which that should be finished up soon.

While looking forward to a new job, Candice is most excited to get back time with her kids. She’s ready to take a vacation with her kids that doesn’t involve studying and go on road trips without also having to do homework. 

“I want to be the inspiration to my kids that my mom was for me. I’ve been impacted, but I think my kids have been most impacted by me going back to school. I know they can see and recognize how big and exciting and challenging all of this is, and for them at such a young age to understand that. I want them to feel like “hey, that’s my mom up there.”

Share a comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s