Overcoming Challenges: One Student’s Road to Success

Moreno Valley College Graduate
Hazel Reed, a Moreno Valley College honors student who will be graduating with her second associate’s degree, says that staying focused, having a plan, and utilizing every support program available are the keys to college success..

“If I can do this in three years, than anyone can,” Reed said. Her first A.S. degree was in Social and Behavioral Science; the second degree is in Humanities, Philosophy and Art.

Reed started at MVC after being diagnosed with spinal stenosis, a degenerative disk and joint disease. (She also suffers from arthritis in her back and knees, and was bedridden when she began her studies.) Once the diagnosis was pronounced and a myriad of prescription drugs ordered, she determined that she had to “use my brain if my mobility is going to be gone.”

Reed, 51, was a returning student. She had attended a Long Beach community college straight out of high school, but life interfered and she didn’t finish. Thirty years later, few of her class credits transferred and everything about college seemed new and challenging.

“I had to learn everything. The last time I was in a library, they still had card catalogues,” said Reed as she described the steep learning curve required to navigate the college system of application, financial aid, counselor appointments, registration, and taking classes.

She started with online classes because she could not walk around campus. Over time, and with the help of special service programs such as EOPS and Disabled Student Services, Reed completed her second degree--even taking one face-to-face class during her final semester.

Reed believes her mobility improved because of her focus on her education and “using her brain.” She also took on extracurricular activities, serving as a Supreme Court Justice for the Associated Student Senate and volunteering with the Human Services Club.

Her advice to others is to make an appointment with a counselor, complete the Student Education Plan, and then “stick to that plan, keep an eye on that goal, don’t get comfortable, and do the work.”
Reed will be transferring to UCLA this fall; she also was accepted to UC Riverside and UC Irvine. She is the first person in her family to earn a college degree and has inspired her husband to enroll at MVC.