Michelle Messer

Bachelor of Science in Business Administration

“I’m an only child with two amazing parents who wanted nothing but the best for me. When I came to ECU, I was able to do what I wanted when I wanted, and that meant having a lot of fun but not a lot of attending classes. I didn’t bring home the most stellar GPA my freshman year, and by sophomore year it was even lower. The ‘Mommy and Daddy Love You Scholarship’ was taken away, and I was left to figuring it out on my own. I had to figure out how to pay the bills first, so I stopped going to school and was lucky enough to be hired as an ECU staff member at Laupus Library, where I worked as a student.

I was working with a lot of people who not only had their bachelor’s degrees but their master’s and even some Ph.D.s. I wanted to fit in. I wanted to show everyone and myself I could earn a degree.

ECU helped me start with a clean slate, so I didn’t feel like I was constantly trying to dig myself out of a hole. My advisor and my professors were also very understanding that I worked full time and had a family, and they made sure to help me in whatever way possible so I could succeed.

I went through a lot over the years, but somehow, someway, I managed to get this done. And no matter what, this is something that can never be taken away from me. I earned it, and it’s mine!

My son, who is 7, was able to see me walk across that stage in my purple cap and gown. He got to see his mom stay up late and do homework and juggle school while parenting and working. My fiancé, my parents and true friends believed in me. They encouraged me, and they didn’t give up on me — and that helped me not give up on myself.”