Friday May 03, 2013
After graduating from Griffith High School in 2003, Kris Taylor of Merrillville said she wasn’t mentally prepared for college at first and couldn’t decide what she really wanted to do. She began working instead.
In 2008, the now 27-year-old decided it was time to get a college education and she enrolled at IU Northwest, where several of her relatives had graduated.
However, remaining committed to her studies was a bit more challenging than she could handle at first. A difficult pregnancy immediately after she enrolled, followed by caring for a baby with another on the way, led to a decision to put her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree on hold.
Taylor credits Ann Fritz, director of the IU Northwest Gallery of Contemporary Art, with inspiring her to return in 2011. And this May, Taylor graduates with a bachelor’s in Fine Art.
“She said, ‘you have to finish school. Do it for the kids. They have to see that you overcame obstacles,’” Taylor recalled.
Taylor took Fritz’s advice and returned to classes, but the challenges seemed to just keep coming. Her mother had received a cancer diagnosis and she was juggling the needs of two children, now ages 2 and 4, on her own.
But this time, there had been a noticeable difference in the way Taylor responded to obstacles.
“Maybe it was the maturity of having kids,” she said. “I started to see improvement. I was more grounded. My grades started getting better each semester. I didn’t want to quit this time.”
Before long, Taylor had gone from quitting to the Dean’s List. The single mom was able to juggle raising toddlers while also working.
“I didn’t want my kids to grow up and think it’s OK to quit school because things get tough,” Taylor said.
Taylor, a photographer, has applied to graduate school and wants to pursue Art Therapy as a method of helping people cope with illness.
About the Class of 2013: Indiana University Northwest conferred 854 degrees at the 47th Annual Commencement ceremonies on May 9, 2013. The Class of 2013 collectively received 123 associate’s degrees, 606 bachelor’s degrees and 125 master’s degrees. More than a hundred of the graduates have earned their diploma with honors.