Single mom graduates with two degrees after having twins
A single mother of twins has defied the odds to graduate at 23 with two degrees.
Montoya Major is set to receive her bachelor’s in cardiovascular sonography and a master’s in health science from Nova Southeastern University in Florida on August 16 - an achievement made all the more remarkable by her giving birth to twins during the program.
She shared her incredible achievement on Facebook alongside heartwarming pictures of her and her daughters, but never expected her post to go viral - at the time of writing, it has received over 1,000 likes and 1,2000 shares.
"My initial thought, when I found out I was pregnant, was, 'What am I going to do with a child?'" Major revealed in an interview with Today. "I was living in Florida, away from all my family and friends. Having kids was never a thought of mine. I wanted to pursue my degree and establish a career."
"I knew that now, my entire thought process would have to be re-evaluated, and I needed to figure out what to do next," she continued.
Major revealed that she attended class "every single day literally until the day I gave birth", despite the fact the director of her course told her that completing her studies would be "nearly impossible".
She gave birth to daughters - Makenna and Makinlee - via a C-section in May of last year, and despite most women taking a break from work and/or their studies after giving birth, she returned to the classroom just a week later.
Major explained to Fox News that the support of her father, in particular, was instrumental in enabling her to complete her studies with twins, particularly as he had raised the 23-year-old as a widower.
"Throughout this entire journey, my father encouraged me the most although he was not physically there. My father and I are very close and have always been inseparable after my mother passed when I was young," Major told Fox News. "Whenever I had an episode of wanting to quit school he always encouraged me that it would be worth it in the end."
"During that semester, I had one day that I was required to be in class from 8 am to 5 pm, and like any new mom, I did not want to be away from my babies," she told Today. "I physically felt and looked terrible. I had body aches and incision pain, not to mention the lack of sleep."
"It honestly seemed as though everywhere I turned, there was another situation trying to stop me," Major continued. "When the girls were sick, I had to miss days to care for them. When I simply just needed a break or to do schoolwork, I didn't have that."
But even though the odds were stacked against the 23-year-old, thanks to the love of her daughters and family, she was able to overcome every hurdle.
"I am a completely different person since giving birth," she told Yahoo Lifestyle. "I honestly feel like if it wasn't for them I would not have been the strong woman I am today. I would have never physically, mentally, or spiritually pushed myself in ways that I have since they were born."
Major is now excited about the future, which currently involves graduating with her dual degrees and completing her clinical rotations.
"My father, siblings, children, and I plan to travel [to Fort Lauderdale] for me to participate in the commencement ceremony. We also will be turning the trip into a mini-vacation and taking the girls to Disney World," she told Fox News. "I'm really excited to take them because my dad used to take me to Disney World almost every summer and now I will be able to do the same with my children."
The new graduate and her children are then relocating to Mobile. There, she will have the additional support of her family as she begins her career.
Despite the 23-year-old's story being inspiring, not all of the comments she has received on social media have been positive, but she refuses to let her critics affect her positive mindset.
"I don't let the negative comments get me down because I have accomplished and been through so much in these past two years," she told Fox News. "I will always be happy for myself because I have an education that no one could ever take away from me. In the end, I will forever be able to provide for my children."
"I just want to inspire other parents regardless if they are married or doing it completely alone to go for their dreams. Having a child is not the end of your education. You will go through many obstacles but ultimately you can do anything you put your mind to."