Kim Lowe’s fateful day wasn’t even intended to be for her. In 2008, seated in an office with a friend who was interested in going back to college, Lowe realized that her own education aspirations were still alive and well. She originally attended college in the 80s, but had to withdraw because of family circumstances. However, it wasn’t long after Lowe entered that office that she spoke with an admissions counselor, described her hesitation about reentering school, and met with a college representative.
She graduated with a degree in Human Services in 2011 and then earned a Master’s in Administration of Human Services in 2012.
Now a doctoral student in the School of Education at Holy Family University, Lowe is expecting to graduate in Spring 2018 with an EdD in Educational Leadership and Professional Studies. However, the journey hasn’t been without its fair share of heartache.
At a young age, Lowe was diagnosed with Spinal Meningitis, which doctors believed could have left her with cognitive and emotional impairments. After overcoming the odds, her health declined yet again when she became pregnant with her daughter.
“My health deteriorated to the degree of becoming permanently disabled,” Lowe said. “As a survivor of abuse and brain injury, I still cannot believe that my long journey towards a college degree has afforded me the chance to obtain a doctorate degree.”
A debilitating pregnancy left Lowe vulnerable and skeptical that she could achieve the education she had always wanted. With support from her family and friends, Lowe committed herself to physical rehabilitation and has been able to work with mental stimuli to continue her education.
“Despite everything, I have a greater appreciation for many of the things that people take for granted, like eating, being self-reliant, and feeling healthy,” Lowe said. “In my dining room I have a makeshift classroom with a blackboard, dry erase board, and posters. I repeat things often, but at least I have the tools to enhance my learning and memory. I continue to be under doctor’s care to address my physical and emotional needs. I sometimes view life as being overwhelming, but there is a support system in place.”
After she completes her education, Lowe has aspirations to become a motivational speaker—to help those searching for encouraging and powerful words to make dramatic changes in their lives.
“Poor self-esteem and lack of motivation has inhibited many people from living to their fullest potential,” Lowe said. “I was that person. I want to move people into a higher knowing of themselves. I want to help adults get back on track.”
Everything Lowe has worked for over the past eight years has been in tribute to her daughter, Kyla, a freshman at Merion Mercy Academy, who she hopes to inspire with her own higher-ed journey.
“Returning back to college was one of the hardest decisions of my adult life,” Lowe said. “As a single parent, I did not want to neglect my child. I believed that my time for a formal education was behind me; my role now consisted of being a mother and provider, not a college graduate. One day, I was talking with my daughter about resilience and determination. I stressed the importance of finishing what you started in life. I reflected on the fact that I did not complete college. As my daughter’s first role model and teacher, it was important to lead by example.”
“The past eight years have involved countless marked-up papers from my professors, the not-so-good grades, the late-night naps on the computer desk, and, of course, the final passing grades. I shared these moments with Kyla because I want her to witness the power of faith and resiliency. Obstacles are a part of life. It is important to learn how to remain on course of your life’s goals.”
As her graduation date continues to draw near, Lowe is moving towards the finish line—slowly, but surely, better late than never.