Student Spotlight

Against all odds: Monica’s story

March 03, 2016 by Gustav Deutsch

Monica Careyette rose from the depths of addiction and got her life back on track thanks to a compassionate judge. It has not been easy for the single mother who works full time, but in May she’ll be realizing the dream of a bachelor’s degree in sociology from nonprofit Brandman University. This is her story.


Monica Careyette: I knew I needed to change my life.

Monica Careyette grew up surrounded by gangs and addicts, and she too fell into that world.

MC: Ten years ago my life was craziness. I was addicted to meth and I was living in the streets.

After four felony convictions she went to jail. One judge gave her a second chance and sent her through a drug treatment program.

MC: If the judge had just looked at me as a number I would have done some serious prison time. But he looked at me as a person needing help.

Monica emerged clean and determined, with her daughters well-being on her mind. She’s earning a bachelor’s degree in sociology at Brandman University’s Santa Maria campus and wants to become a social worker. For Monica, attending Brandman has been like another step in rehab.

MC: I was lost, I didn’t really know myself, going to college gave me the confidence back, they knew my story, they don’t judge me they welcomed me with open arms and it gave me my confidence back.

It hasn’t been easy, like many Brandman students, Monica is a single mom with a full-time job.

MC: I was intimidated when I first walked in. But Brandman’s flexible schedule and online classes made it possible. Here is perfect for me, single mom, working full-time… The financial aid has been amazing, my advisor has been amazing, anything I need as far as paper, I’ve gone in there for pencils and they’ve just been amazing.

Monica can’t believe the 180 her life has taken over the last decade, capped by her coming graduation from Brandman this May.

MC: If you would’ve asked me ten years ago… I never would have said it, I’d probably said I’d still be living on the streets or I’d be in prison, I never would have said that I would be a college graduate.

A Brandman degree will mean another new start and unlock many more doors for this Central Coast mother and daughter.

MC: ‘Cause when I walked that stage it’s gonna be worth it. And she’s gonna walk with me and that’s going to be even more amazing.

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