Three-time Graduate Finds Success in Perseverance
May 23, 2013 - It’s easy to become discouraged on the long, winding road to fulfillment, but it’s worth remembering that success is out there, even if that road goes through Baxley, Mount Vernon, Statesboro, Tifton, Vidalia, and Venezuela.
After graduating high school in 1996, Jessica Stone-Lamb’s life led her in a number of directions, one of which included a decade-long detour. But not only does she view today as a success, she’s ready to begin the next path.
“Even though it seemed as if it tarried, I am now here crossing the finish line to begin a new journey in my life,” said Stone-Lamb.
Stone-Lamb began her collegiate career at Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College (ABAC). For two years, she laid academic foundations. This period was mostly uneventful, until the end of her second year.
“I had the opportunity to go into the mission field, so for the next couple of years I traveled back and forth to Venezuela as a missionary,” said Stone-Lamb.
Her focus changed from academic to spiritual, and she spent three years doing mission work. She didn’t forget the goal she originally set, though, and picked up in 2001 where she left off, enrolling in night classes at Brewton Parker College.
After a year at Brewton Parker, Stone-Lamb decided the next step was to transfer to Georgia Southern University. There, something she had lived with for years wrestled out of her control and took its toll.
“Because I am hearing impaired I never could understand the teachers and never really connected with anyone to get help,” said Stone-Lamb. “So, I dropped out.”
Stone-Lamb has a middle- to high-frenquency hearing loss, manageable until she began taking classes in Georgia Southern’s cavernous auditoriums. The hearing difficulty combined with feeling out of place in a new environment turned her time in Statesboro into a stumbling block.
Stone-Lamb returned to her secretarial and fitness jobs in Baxley and did well. In January 2003, she became co-owner and manager of a gym. But after a year, she knew she had to return to the academic ring then, when financial conditions were right.
“Styling hair has always been a passion of mine, and I had thought about going to Cosmetology before but it had never worked out for me financially,” said Stone-Lamb. “So, I began looking into it and saw that Vidalia had the program for me.”
Stone-Lamb said she was “determined to do the best [she] could” when she enrolled at Southeastern Technical College in 2004. A year later, she graduated with a 4.0 GPA and as Southeastern Tech’s Georgia Occupational Award of Leadership winner.
“My experience at STC was so refreshing,” said Stone-Lamb. “It was a breath of fresh air. Southeastern Tech encouraged me and gave me the confidence that I could pass school and pass it well.”
Stone-Lamb packed a lot of living into the end of 2005. She graduated in September, passed her licensure exam in November, married her husband, Ryan, in December and began working at Gail’s Hair, Etc. After three years there, she moved to Main Attractions, where she’s been ever since.
But in 2009, Stone-Lamb’s husband began taking online classes through Liberty University, and she was intrigued. The online courses seemed an inviting path back to a decade-old goal that her present work had nurtured.
“Since being a Cosmetologist can mean being a counselor to so many that sit in your chair, I decided to check into finishing the goal that I started in the fall of 1996, and that was to work my way towards becoming a Professional Counselor,” said Stone-Lamb.
Counseling had long been the goal for Stone-Lamb, who said she “has a heart for counseling people who are struggling with issues of bondage and feel they have no way out.” Life had steered her away from that goal, but after years of offering advice to people in her chair and a mission trip to Peru, where she comforted grief-stricken earthquake victims, she knew it was time to try again.
She enrolled in late 2009 to earn a bachelor’s in psychology. All her previous coursework already had her halfway there, so in May 2011, Stone-Lamb walked at Liberty’s graduation in Lynchburg, Va.
And still, Stone-Lamb’s eyes were set further down the road. In September 2011, she began Liberty’s Master of Arts in Professional Counseling. After graduating on May 11, she is three years of residency away from being a Licensed Professional Counselor with her own practice, the culmination of all she’s learned and worked toward for 17 years.
“This has been a wonderful journey, and I commend Southeastern Technical College and, most importantly, the call of God on my life to encourage me to finish this journey that I began,” said Stone-Lamb.
For more information on revitalizing your education, visit www.southeasterntech.edu or call 912-538-3100 or 478-289-2200.