July 29, 2019 | Katherine Adams
Maria Laws’s family didn’t cross the stage with her when she received her Bachelor of Science in psychology from University of Houston-Clear Lake in May, but she said she couldn’t have done it without them.
“Getting my degree was definitely a family effort,” she said. Over 12 years ago, Laws said she decided to go back to school and get her college degree. “I was raised in an environment where college was not really encouraged,” she said. “I was an accounting associate for a long time and I was passed over for promotions a lot because I didn’t have a college degree. I made the decision to get it when my older daughter was 7 months old.”
Two semesters in to her associate degree at Brazosport Community College, Laws said she found out she was pregnant again. “After I had my second daughter, I went back to work,” she said. “I took some classes but it was so hard to work full time and be a mom. Over 12 years, I went back and forth, trying again to go back to school and stopping.”
During these years, Laws said her career in accounting grew and she became an office manager. “Still, my education was always there and I knew I needed to get it,” she said. “Finally, I just resigned my job and sat down with my family and I told them, what I want is to get my degree.”
Laws said her whole family pitched in. “My husband was doing the cooking. The kids took on extra chores. I did finish my associate degree at BCC and then, I made the transition to UH-Clear Lake,” she said. “It was so easy. Everyone was so helpful at UHCL and the professors were all wonderful.” Her family continued to help her throughout the continuation of her studies. “The kids would listen to me talk about what I was learning,” she said. “It was like we all graduated when I graduated.”
She chose to study psychology instead of accounting, she said, even though accounting had been the majority of her professional career. “I love working with people. I understand corporate accounting, procurement and human resources, but you’re always dealing with people in all those areas,” she said. “Psychology makes me feel like I’m a better person with my family and with the people I work with. I’m able to look at things with a more open perspective. I think psychology is the best field to go into if you’re with people a lot.”
Laws said that along the way, she had so many helpful professors that she couldn’t name one person who had stood out more than the others. “People don’t believe me, but it’s true. Every single professor I had let me know that they would do anything they could to help me succeed. I have nothing but good things to say about every professor I had.”
Since graduating, Laws decided to continue her education and enroll in an MBA program. “Everyone asks me what my career goal is, but my answer is I’m just keeping an open mind,” she said. “I would like to work in a business that is growing. Wherever I end up, that will be a great place, and whatever door opens for me, that is the door I’ll walk through.”
Find out more information about UHCL’s Psychology program online.