"goals don’t have an expiration date"

When I passed the math section of the GED, I remember screaming so loud that I scared my husband. I was just so excited about the opportunity to advance my education—and so thankful for the support I received from my Olive-Harvey College instructors along the way.

My journey to the GED started when I moved to the United States from Nigeria in 2012. I came to this country with passions ranging from fashion design and hair styling, to volunteering for medical programs.

However, one thing didn’t come with me—my educational credentials from Nigeria. And because I wanted to become a licensed practical nurse here, I needed proof that I had completed high school or earned a high school equivalency certificate.

So, I enrolled in a GED program at a local school, but I didn’t receive the support or quality of education I needed there. That’s when a Google search directed me to Olive-Harvey College’s Adult Education program.

I started the program in one of the lower-level classes with an instructor who was exceptionally patient and encouraging. My commitment to my education began paying off, and I continued to progress to higher-level classes.

Then, my progress came to a halt. My father passed away, and I needed to return to Nigeria to be with my family. When I returned to Chicago, the pandemic hit, which further slowed my progress.

Still, I kept my focus and remained committed to my goals. It was challenging, but I had support along the way from incredible instructors who made even the toughest subjects fun for me.

Now, I’m proud to say I did it—I completed my GED.

Throughout my journey, I’ve learned that our goals don’t have an expiration date. I’m an immigrant, a wife, and a mom, and I can’t wait to pursue my interest in the medical field by becoming a licensed practical nurse.

Earning my high school equivalency was just the beginning.

—Bernice Agu, Olive-Harvey College High School Equivalency Completer, Class of 2022