Mother of three excelled and graduated from VC’s Physical Therapist Assistant Program
Regina Walker turned her life around and persevered
VICTORIA, Texas – Regina Walker, a mother of three, shares her experience of commuting three hours roundtrip to attend Victoria College’s Physical Therapist Assistant Program during the Covid-19 pandemic and how it almost got the best of her.
During one of her classes in the two-year program, Walker asked herself if she had made the right decision. She met with the PTA Program Chair, Laura Crandall, to discuss the possibility of dropping out.
“Finances started getting really tight,” said Walker, who lives in the Gonzales County community of Leesville.
On May 8, 27-year-old Walker moved forward and received her Associate of Applied Science degree from VC’s PTA Program, which is something she wouldn’t have dreamed possible four years ago.
After receiving her high school diploma at the age of 16, Walker found herself spiraling out of control with chemical abuse addiction.
“I was kind of a trouble kid,” Walker said. “I kind of just didn’t do anything with my life. I went down a lost path for a long time.”
Four years later, Walker became pregnant with her first child and decided to turn her life around.
“I got clean, and I straightened out my lifestyle,” Walker said. “I decided I needed to do something with my life.”
Walker registered for classes at Victoria College’s Gonzales Center with the intent to gain acceptance into VC’s Physical Therapist Assistant Program.
“My mother has been a PTA for 37 years,” Walker said. “I would go to work with my mom some days and just hang out. I was around physical therapy a lot when I was younger, and I just wanted to do that.”
Walker was pregnant with her second child at the time and still had her apprehensions about taking college-level classes.
“I just didn’t feel like I was smart enough,” Walker said. “I had to take a remedial math class. I also took a psychology class and Math I that semester. I made A’s in both classes. Everyone at VC’s Gonzales Center was so helpful. My confidence really grew, and I started believing I could do this. There never again was a day when I didn’t feel ready to go to school. I never woke up and thought, ‘I don’t want to go to class today.’ ”
In 2018, Walker completed her prerequisites and applied for VC’s PTA Program.
“I wasn’t accepted, but it was OK because I had just had my third child at the time,” Walker said. “I just knew it wasn’t God’s timing.”
Walker applied again, and while out of town, her mother, Charlene Cockcroft, called her to inform her that she had received a letter from VC.
“I was thinking I was going to be heartbroken again,” Walker said. “She asked if she could open it. I said, ‘No, Mom. I’ll do it when I get home.’ She opened it anyway and called me about an hour later to tell me I had been accepted. I just bawled tears of joy.”
Walker also remembers a time during her two years in the PTA Program when the pressures of motherhood, commuting 90 minutes back and forth to class from her home in Leesville and coping with the Covid-19 pandemic had her and her three children, including daughters Ainsley, 6, and Avery, 4, and son Kanyon, 3, in tears.
“Because of COVID-19, I was having to teach my children’s school at home,” Walker said. “I would be gone all day at school, get home and do all things a mother has to do, then try to get some studying in. Most nights none of us would get to bed until 10:30 p.m. I was tired. The children were tired. There were many nights we were all crying.”
Walker worked hard and excelled enough academically to be inducted into the VC’s chapter of the Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society.
“The PTA Program is definitely an amazing program,” Walker said. “It was the hardest thing I have ever done, but it was also the most rewarding. If you would have told me six years ago that I would be graduating as a PTA, I would have laughed in your face.”
On May 7, Walker received the Most Inspirational Award at the PTA Program’s Pinning Ceremony. She plans to continue her education at the University of Houston-Victoria to pursue a bachelor’s degree in psychology.
“It’s going to be great to walk across that stage with all the trials and tribulations I have faced behind me while I’m walking towards a new future for myself and my family. Every day I thank God, my children, my fiancé, my mother and my family members who helped me with my children and who have stood behind me in this journey. I want to be able to use my testimony to help others know that it’s never too late.”
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