“The line between being a college student and a mother is continually blurred and the dust seldom settles. But when it does, I shake the dust and defy the stereotypes to become a thriving single-parent by using the challenges as a mother to fuel my educational journey. Regardless of the trials and the delay, I will provide for my daughter without compromising my dreams by being more grateful, more selfless, more understanding, and being assured: hard work bears fruit greater than the seed.” – Ezra Calado
by Alicia Wanek
Ezra Calado realized early that life doesn’t always go according to plan, but this Richland College and University of Texas at Dallas student is embracing her new direction and making the most of every opportunity that’s come her way. As a high school student at DISD’s talented and gifted program at Townview Magnet High School, she was planning to go to a large university upon graduation to study international business. But when her daughter Juliana was born the summer after she graduated, she had to reconsider her future. Motherhood changed everything, but now, she can look around and say, “I think my life will go where it should go and at the right time.”
It certainly is going in the right direction. Now, this amazing young woman is enrolled in the Professional Program in Accounting at UTD with a full scholarship from the Terry Foundation, and she’s an Asian American Native American Pacific Islander Serving Institute scholarship recipient with an eye towards blending her interest in public policy in higher education with her accounting degree after she passes her CPA exam. She credits her experiences at Richland College for setting her new goals in motion.
At first, Ezra considered taking a break after high school to stay home with her new baby as some advised her to do, but when her grandmother offered to move here from the Philippines to help take care of Juliana, she decided to go on to college right away. She chose Richland because it was the most practical option for her at the time. It was close by, and she appreciated that they offered flexible schedules.
She admits that she experienced a lot of guilt in the beginning over splitting her time, but she quickly learned that with better study skills she could get her work done while still on campus and then be fully present with her daughter when she got home. It wasn’t long before Ezra had been accepted into Richland’s Honors Academy, started working in the Office of Student Life, started an honors student organization, and become the vice president of the student government. Her participation in extra-curricular activities at Richland only enhanced her college experience, and she believes it made her not only a better student but also a better individual and a better leader.
It was Ezra’s first class in Richland’s honors program that led to her interest in accounting. She especially credits her professor Robyn Robertson for her guidance. “The way she taught accounting, she was able to draw upon professional experience but not elevate it to a level where you couldn’t understand it.” Her coursework at Richland prepared her well for UTD; “Richland helped a lot with the transition because the structure of the courses was similar and helped with retention and continuity,” she says.
Ezra is an extremely dedicated student and mother. Her daughter Juliana, now age 2, doesn’t understand now what an amazing role model her mother is, but someday she will. Thanks to the support from Ezra’s family she has been able to make this commitment to her education to ensure Juliana has the same opportunities. Ezra says, “Richland was the best choice I ever made for myself and for my future.” What a bright one it is.