— Maggie Cleveland
Maggie Cleveland 35, is a standout student at Goddard College. She was on her own by the end of high school and took part-time classes at community colleges while working a string of jobs, from waitress to artist’s model. She put school on the back burner when she had a child at the age of 24, and went back when her daughter was two, finally completing an associate’s degree in 2004. From there she transferred to UMass- Amherst’s night program in hopes of completing her bachelor’s degree, while working full time and raising her daughter and a stepson with Asperger’s syndrome. “I took classes at UMass for one and a half years. I had 81 credits in English. Then when I went in one day to sign up for the next semester, they told me my program had been canceled for night students. I could change my major— they gave me 5 to choose from--or transfer to the day program, which wasn’t an option for me.” So Maggie started looking around for a different option, and found Goddard. “I was able to finish up my undergrad degree there--it actually cost me less money than U Mass, even being a Massachusetts resident, and I was able to finish it a year sooner.” Goddard took 75 transfer credits from courses Maggie had taken elsewhere. The college requires learners who want to get transfer credit to write a statement addressing what they’ve learned and how it fulfills Goddard’s requirements. After graduating in 2008, Maggie decided to return for an MFA in creative writing, which allows her to pursue a passion as well as a teaching career herself. Her teacher is in Canada. They met at the beginning of the semester and agreed on a reading list for her, and every three weeks she mails him a packet of 40 pages of critical and creative writing, which he comments on and returns to her. “There’s a constant dialogue and relationship. My advisor and I are separated by a lot of distance, but you really do develop a relationship with somebody and you get to know them.”
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