Le Fer Hall in the summer

Louanna“I have always felt a connection with The Woods.”

Even as a young girl, Luonna felt a connection to this spiritual place. But after high school graduation, her life took a different turn and “other things were more fun than school.”

Fast forward a few years, she was working alongside college level instructors to teach college students and she realized she needed to finish her degree. She shares, “They were so inspiring to me and their thirst for learning made me recognize my own.”

Working in hospice can be very stressful, so she sees her studies as a way of decompressing and focusing on something else. But, even then, she does her schoolwork during the week so she can have her weekends free to really relax. She elaborates, “I am very organized, and I work a little bit each day. I love to create my to-do lists and watch my progress as I tick them off.”

It hasn’t been easy though. At one point her mother had fallen and she thought she was going to have to drop out to care for her. Luonna reflects, “My professors and advisors sat down with me and said, ‘you can do this.’ They worked with me and gave me emotional and academic support and gave me the structure I needed to get through. I persevered. At every step it’s been clear to me my professors really want me to succeed.”

“I had been out of school a long time and told my advisors that I was not interested in doing math.” Luonna confesses, “Then I took my class and internally I was freaking out, but the professor was so sweet and patient with me. At one point he said to me, ‘Luonna, if you were on a desert island, I could see you needing to do this long hand, but you’re not. Use your calculator.’ I just laughed and thought, ‘oh my gosh, why was I thinking I couldn’t use it?’”

Luonna finishes, “The faculty and staff want you to succeed. They are there with compassion and empathy and they are your biggest cheerleader all the way through.”