The third time was the charm for Malenda Avery. She attended two other colleges before geography brought her to Macomb and she found the college experience that had previously eluded her.
“After I started, I loved it,” says the single mom of two teenaged boys who moved to Eastpointe from Detroit a couple of years ago. “I love the teachers, the atmosphere, the diversity, the small class sizes and the individual attention.”
Crediting all those factors for helping her excel in her classes as she never had before, Avery graduated cum laude from Macomb in May with an Associate of Arts Degree in General Studies. She continues to take classes at Macomb while attending Rochester College, where she is pursuing a degree in psychology in a program offered at the University Center on Center Campus.
“I would like to be a social worker,” offers Avery, and earning the necessary master’s degree is in her plans. “But after I earn my bachelor’s degree, I am taking some time off school so I can work full time and focus on my sons’ education.”
Avery, a committed journal keeper and sometime poet, is currently employed as a tutor in Macomb’s Reading and Writing Studios, after starting out there as a work-study student.
“I feel like I am making a difference in people’s academic lives,” says Avery, who assists students with organizing their ideas, formatting written assignments and revising drafts. “I want everyone to succeed, and I love hearing about their papers. I learn new things from what the students have written.”
The skills she has developed as a tutor have also come in handy when she is coaching her sons: Cassieus, 13, and Elijah, 15, on their homework assignments.
“It has taught me to be patient when working with them,” says Avery. “It has given me insight into new techniques for helping them come to their own conclusions.”
Avery has also gained valuable insight as a single mom balancing the demands of work, school and family. To those facing similar challenges, she offers a little advice and a lot of encouragement.
“It’s very stressful at times to try to juggle everything, but it is very rewarding to know that you are not only helping yourself succeed, but helping your children succeed as well,” says Avery. “Keep going and don’t get discouraged. It’s not easy by any means, but trust that your goals are achievable.”