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'Emersonian' Regeaner Hughes Proves Patience Is a Key to Success
If patience is a virtue, Regeaner Hughes is truly a virtuous person. At 49 years of age, she is pursuing a college degree -- something she has been waiting a lifetime to do.
"I had tried attending college when I graduated high school," said Hughes. "But as a young mother, I had to focus on working and taking care of my family."
Hughes raised three daughters and attained a successful career, but the desire of pursuing a college degree never left her. When two of her daughters moved out on their own, Hughes begin to consider going back to school, but her plans were delayed again when her three grandchildren came to live with her.
"At that time, I really prayed about my situation," she said. "I knew that if it was meant to be, I would be able to get back to school."
Hughes' prayers were answered on the eve of a New Year.
"I had been renting a house from an elderly Polish couple," she explained. "They had always been so kind and understanding with my situation. I received a call from them on Dec. 31 letting me know that they wanted to do something for me to help me start my year off right."
Hughes, who lived in Illinois at the time, said the couple offered to give her $3,000 to begin her college education.
"God is good," Hughes said. "Every time I think about it I get emotional. I will be 49 years old next month, and for someone to think about me like that meant more than they could ever know."
She enrolled in college and attained the dean's list her first semester, unaware that a series of events was about to change her direction once again.
One of her daughters relocated to Tullahoma, and Hughes helped with the move. While in Tullahoma, she learned that she was eligible for affordable housing and began to think about following her daughter to Tennessee.
After returning to Illinois, the bakery Hughes worked for went out of business, and not long after, she received a call saying housing was available in Tullahoma. She decided to make the move and continue her college career in Tennessee.
Hughes enrolled at Motlow College and has been blazing an academic trail ever since.
"It has been so amazing how the good Lord can take you out of something and put you into something even better," she said. "He has put me in a place where I can complete my education and pursue the career of my dreams."
Since the beginning of her academic career at Motlow, Hughes has made the honor roll and has her sights set on the dean's list this semester. She feels that being a non-traditional student makes her more receptive to learning.
"I'm like a sponge," she said. "I am 'Emersonian.' I love Ralph Waldo Emerson. After writing a paper about him for Dr. Mary McLemore's English class, I fell in love with his philosophy of thinking for oneself and being who you are."
Hughes is going to Cape Town, Africa, this summer through the college's Study Abroad Program, a trip she calls "an opportunity of a lifetime."
After she returns, she will continue to pursue a degree in mass communications, with hopes of one day becoming a writer.
"It has been something I have dreamed of doing since I was a little girl," said Hughes. "I tell people I want to be the next Oprah Winfrey. While I might get a little discouraged about my age, I know that I have to what I have done all my life - keep trying."
She plans also to continue sharing her story.
"I want everyone I come across to know the importance of an education and the endless possibilities it can create," she said.