It’s been more than a year since Sharon Hill earned her degree with her daughter Toni Jones. Since then, Hill has experienced a whole new journey which brought her back to OCC, but this time as an enrollment associate at Student Central. We caught up with her this summer to talk about her journey since graduation.
When Hill and her daughter graduated, it was the most amazing feeling in the world. She had successfully earned her degree in human services after being laid off from her job at 58 years old. OCC helped her achieve her goals, but she wanted to stay. “I loved the culture and the people,” Hill said, “I didn’t want to leave.”
So she didn’t. Hill went on the college website and started looking for jobs. She found an opening as an enrollment associate and said, “Huh. That’s what I’ve done before, so I’d be perfect for the job.”
Hill started as an enrollment associate a short time later. It didn’t take long before she realized how much she loved it. “I had worked in similar positions in banking and insurance before, but working at OCC felt more rewarding than some of my previous jobs.”
The students quickly came to love her too. She greeted them with a friendly face and connected with them on a personal level. During down time in Student Central, Hill found students would visit her at her work station to get caught up on life. She quickly became a part of the campus community.
That made it harder when she got sick. Hill had to leave work in November 2016 to take care of her health. “It wasn’t looking good for me,” Hill pondered looking off into the distance.
Undefeated, Hill kept going, determined to get healthy and return to work. She told her doctors she was going to get healthy and return to work by April. Hill’s doctor was hesitant, but she proved he didn’t need to be.
“All I could think about is getting back,” Hill said “When I was laid off, I worried what would happen to me at my age. Earning my degree from OCC and getting a job here gave me another chance to get back into the workforce.”
Hill returned to work in April 2017, beating her illness. She continues to work to help the students and make everyone’s day a little better. So what’s next for her? She says she’s ready to start working towards her bachelor’s degree. “That’s the next goal,” Hill said. And so she continues on her journey, undeterred and undefeated.