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Judith Mortenson

MA English & Creative Writing - Nonfiction, Class of 1800

"I am most thankful for the one professor who helped me along my journey by allowing me to see my path more clearly."

My story starts out like many nontraditional students. It began in my mid-thirties by enrolling in a Child Development Associate (CDA) program at a local community college. I had just been divorced and found myself working two jobs to support my two young boys, the younger of the two in preschool. I wanted to work with children, so I began my educational journey seeking the CDA. However, I found it difficult to stop once I had begun taking classes. I had an insatiable appetite for learning.

A decade later, I am proud to say I have not lost the taste for acquiring knowledge. Although the focus of study has changed, the drive to succeed is more powerful than ever. Still feeling the need to teach and inspire others to learn, I decided to add writing to my repertoire of classes. I was not sure of what I wanted to say to the world, but I had a feeling it would come. I had been writing since my preteen years and considered myself a writer, but as a struggling single mother, I did not think to pursue such a path; after all, what kind of writing could guarantee a steady income? In hindsight, I should have taken the path truest to my heart. A few degree changes later, one amazing professor here at SNHU made me realize I had been right all along.

Professor Kathy Johnson (Fundamentals of Creative Nonfiction) not only has a remarkable gift for teaching, but she has an infectious excitability for narrative prose, which is contagious and easily transmitted. She taught me to trust the process of becoming a great writer, to continue the passion that burns behind every word in my prose, and to listen closely to the voice I often ignore. Professor Johnson had washed away the sediment that had built up around my confidence. She went beyond her role as instructor to motivate, encourage, and propel me into a forward march. And so, as the years continue to pass, and the older of my two sons enters graduate school to study astrophysics and the younger enters his first year of college to follow his own path to creative writing, I am thankful for much. I am thankful to my new SNHU advisor who always reaches out to me, even when I am too busy to reach back. I am thankful for the consistency of the online course structure, which makes learning a lot less stressful class after class; however, I am most thankful for the one professor who helped me along my journey by allowing me to see my path more clearly as I continue my journey to teach, inspire, and motivate with my prose.