Menu button
Home » Mobile, Students & Alumni

Single Mom Juggles College with Work and Family

Submitted by on July 28, 2016 – 1:18 pm
Tina McNeil Criminal Justice

Tina McNeil Criminal Justice

Managing full-time work with parenting two teen girls and an almost full-time college schedule isn’t easy, but Tina McNeil proves it can be done.

A regional manager for Kohl’s department store and the single parent of a 13 and 15 year old, Tina’s weekly schedule is enough to make your head spin, but she wouldn’t have it any other way.

“I’m doing this for me and it’s the best thing I’ve ever done,” says the criminal justice major “I can’t wait to continue on for my bachelor’s degree at UMASS Lowell and I’m not stopping until I get at least a Master’s.”

While Tina prefers traditional classroom classes, she does appreciate the flexibility of online classes and accelerated classes which are five or eight weeks long, rather than the traditional 14 weeks.

And, she’s been able to participate in the full college experience, visiting Ecuador as part of the college’s Short Term Study Abroad Program and securing an internship in the Haverhill Probation Department.

Time management is key, according to Tina, who says she writes everything down. “I’m very scheduled,” she says. “We have family time and homework time.”

Tina’s girls are proud of their mother. Her younger daughter has a developing interest in criminal justice and enjoys learning what her mother is studying. Her oldest daughter is very focused on her mother’s academic progress- she has a 3.45 GPA-and has proven to be an excellent math tutor.

As a matter of fact, when Tina decided not to participate in graduation in May, her daughters wouldn’t hear of it. “They begged me to take part in commencement so they could watch me get my degree.” Of course, Tina said “yes.”

To learn more about enrolling at Northern Essex for the spring, visit the website or contact Enrollment Services at or 978-556-3700.