Campus ‘Cats: Loree Johnson

You’re not a traditional student. What made you decide to go to college later in life?

I dropped out when I was young and I always regretted dropping out. It has been my goal for over 20 years to come back and go to school.

What were you occupied with before returning to school?

I raised three boys who are now 21, 18 and 15. I then got my realtor’s license and have been a realtor for seven years. My husband is also a builder, so I’ve worked helping him with paperwork, with building and picking things out for houses. It has taken me a while to get here. I initially started at Pima and went back to Pima, taking a few classes at a time. It has taken me a while to get my degree, but I only have about a year left.

What has been an experience that has changed your outlook on education?

I would say the fact that I quit made it that much more precious to me. It made me that much more determined, because I regretted it all through my life and wished I had finished. Life doesn’t offer you as many prospects without education.

What advice would you give to someone who was thinking of going back to school?

I would say do it. It has been a great opportunity for me and it has been very enriching. In fact, one experience I had was when my son graduated from high school and started at the U of A. I went to a lecture and the speaker told the audience, ‘Some of you parents, it’s the time to come back.’ I was hungry to come back to college and so I did.

– Kelsey Ahlmark