By Dr. Jaqueline M. Pressey and Jacquelynn M. Pressey

A Room with a View: Legacy Revealed!

​From the perspective of a mother’s heart, I have always wanted the best for my children, yet I have sometimes made many mistakes during the years of raising them. I planned, provided, instructed and trained hoping that I have set a good example for my children to want to follow. But getting to see it come to pass is an actual privilege and a true gift from God. Well, for this previous teenage mother who is getting ready to turn 60 in two months, I am now able to be a part of and have witnessed many family legendary events. But what has topped them all is this one- during the May 2021 Graduation season, both myself and my youngest daughter graduated with our fourth degrees. Yes, I said fourth degrees, within two days of each other. I write this in awe with teary eyes of joy, as I got to behold this extraordinary moment for each one of us. Through the struggles, challenges, homelessness, sickness and pain we did it!

​Hello, I am now officially Dr. Jacqueline M. Pressey. I graduated face to face being hooded by President David Wilson on May 14 with my fourth degree, a doctorate in Community College Leadership from Morgan State University (MSU), after 17 years of numerous failed attempts of trying to complete it (2004-2021). During the miracles from the pandemic and a MSU scholarship, I was able to rewrite my dissertation, which was successful defended, entitled, “Spirituality and Leadership: A Study of Community College Chief Student Affairs Officers and Their Personal and Professional Practices as it Relates to Three Spirituality Foci.” The three foci were purpose/meaning in life, beliefs and connectedness to each other and this world. My previous degrees held includes; MS in Health Fitness Management and BS in Exercise Science & Health Fitness Management both from The American University in Washington, DC.  My associates degree is in Exercise Science & Health Fitness Management from Montgomery College, Rockville. Oh, what an academic and life ride this has been. I have finished strong in spite of wanting to quit numerous times, yet here I am, FINISHED!

​Now my awesome conscientious youngest caregiving daughter, Jacquelynn M. Pressey also graduated with her fourth advanced professional degree in Engineer Management from The George Washington University in Washington, D.C on May 16- a virtual ceremony. There has been so much family joy and fulfillment of seeing our desired dreams and goals reached for us to be able to graduate together. Jacquelynn’s other degrees include: Engineer Management from John Hopkins in Baltimore, Maryland; Electrical/ Computer Science Engineer degree from Morgan State University, Baltimore, Maryland (we’re now both MSU Alumni, YEAH!). And finally, an associate’s in Engineering from Howard Community College, in Columbia, Maryland.  

​In my reflection and lessons learned, I’ve realized reaching a purposeful, personal goal and setting an example that can last a lifetime for one’s generational family legacy can be tough. Mentoring by showing the way can be hard work. To MENTOR, means to M – model, E – Evidence, N – Necessary, T – To, O – Obtain, R – Results (Pressey, 2015). Most of our academic careers and successes were fully funded, which means that one’s GPA can be an actual form of wealth- build it wisely because it can actually have the ability to attract financial resources for your own academic dreams and careers. My current view, we did it, and so can you!!!  

Jacquelynn’s reflection and lesson learned

When I started this journey, graduation was a symbol of completion that signifies commitment, discipline, knowledge and ultimately achievement. The idea for embarking upon my fourth degree: Professional Engineering Degree in Engineering Management at George Washington University was simple: I had time. My reflection on my graduation, while my journey had a few unexpected turns, was a God-directed purpose to graduate with my mother – a personal prayer that she had with Him. I wholeheartedly believe that – and for that, I thank Him. What an honor and a legacy to walk down the aisle of achievement with someone who has loved you unconditionally your entire life, AND, we both get to do it together. I am the one who is blessed.

While the outcome is far greater than I could’ve imagined, as I reflect on this journey, the prominent question that sticks out to me: What are you choosing to do with your time? I am glad to have achieved, but I don’t feel any more confident in who I am or my abilities than before my graduation. This is a question that I asked myself during my journey in my studies: What is this all for? What does this all mean? While the answer to these questions still remains to be seen, I believe that whatever you choose to do with your time, that which you invest in, you will achieve. 

I’ve taken time to invest in self-care – that paid dividends in my health and my relationships. I’ve invested time in building closer friendships with my lifelong friends by making time to be present, bond and experience things together…and even realizing I can make new genuine friendships as an adult. I achieved. This graduation day, I will never forget. I was able to share my day with my dearest friend, my mom, and all the family and friends who took the time out to see a three-second picture of me scroll on screen for my virtual graduation. I had the added benefit of being on a beach vacation with my best friend watching my graduation in the car eating donuts together – a unique memory that “is so us,” that we will have forever that strengthens our bond of friendship. 

That’s what Graduation day to me is: A recognition of what you did with your time and who you get to share that with. Not to mention, God does sure have a way of making things so special – far above anything we could ever think or imagine. And for that, I am grateful.

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