Whether you loved school or not, your attending it likely reflects a belief in the power of education, and an understanding as to why many students pour all of their dedication and focus into their studies. School can be challenging even for the brightest of students, but once in a while, a student comes along who is so special and dedicated that they stand out in a crowd of some of the brightest of their peers. This is story of one girl in particular, who made our hearts melt.
The young woman in question remained dedicated to her education even in the most important and stressful moments of her life. Despite finding out she was pregnant, she was determined to finish her degree, no matter what. It is her insistence to become a mother while not putting her education on hold that has marked her in the eyes of many as a truly remarkable human being, and one who deserves a little extra care.
However, as best made plans often go, this young woman ended up going into labor while she was due to be taking a college exam, which understandably complicated matters further. Following the delivery of her child, she received a letter from her professor that left her speechless. Read on to find out exactly what shook this special young lady and why her story has already touched so many.
Leading up to final exams, students often spend all of their time studying as they know that their exams will define their academic futures. For one student, personal life collided with her studies as she went into labor right before she was supposed to take a psychology exam. Tommitrise Collins is a young mother who was going through one of the hardest yet happiest moments in her life, but she did not let her labor pains affect her ability to perform on an exam.
Even though Tommitrise was sitting in a hospital bed with an IV in her arm and preparing to bring her child into the world, she could not put her studies on hold and she pushed her way through the pain. Her tremendous actions made their way back to her psychology professor who made an astonishing decision upon hearing what Tommitrise had done. But what did her professor do and how did she manage to take her exam?
Prior to beginning her studies at Middle Georgia State University, Tommitrise was playing basketball on the Oklahoma State University team. Unfortunately, she sustained an injury to her ACL and she could no longer play. While Tommitrise was devastated that she was not able to play basketball, she was not planning on giving up her studies and she moved back to her hometown in Georgia to get her degree in Criminology.
Getting her degree
When she moved back home, Tommitrise had already gotten an associates degree but she was hoping to get a criminology degree by 2016. Tommitrise seemed to have her whole life planned out and she was close to achieving her dream of getting a degree. However, it looked like it might have to be put on hold when she went into labor in November of 2015. This is when she decided to take matters into her own hands.
Although Collins knew she was pregnant and expecting her baby to arrive around that time, she was sure she would be able to do her exam as her due date was not for 5 days. However, she went into labor early and was taken to her local hospital early in the morning. Tommitrise knew that her psychology exam was scheduled at 8am and she was determined to take it even if she went into labor.
We all know that sometimes, students make up fake reasons for why they just can’t do a certain exam. In this case, Tommitrise definitely had a valid explanation for why she had to miss hers. However, for Tommitrise, going into labor was not a good enough reason to delay her getting her degree. And so, after realizing she was going into labor, she amazingly powered through it. As she later said in an interview, “I handled my responsibilities.”
When speaking to her interviewer, Tommitrise stressed that it was her decision to take the exam. She explained she had let her Psychology professor know she was having contractions but that she intended to take the online of the exam despite going into labor. Her professor, she stressed, “didn’t make me do anything.” Any professor should understand that giving birth is a good enough reason to not be able to take an exam, but did Collins’?
Hospital bed test
Only 12 hours before Tommitrise went into labor, she opened up her laptop on her hospital bed and got ready to take her exam. However, Collins had not been given anything for the pain by then and she was feeling her contractions. She said it took her “Five hours after the opening of the test to try to put the pain to the side and do it.” Although it was an extremely difficult experience to concentrate on the exam, she knew that if she put it off, she would not be able to focus on her newborn.
Completing the test
While Tommitrise was trying to take her exam, the nurses in the room were trying to stop her and get her through the pain of the contractions. She said in an interview, “I’m talking to people between my contractions – why can’t I just take my test?” Even though Tommitrise was going through one of the most physically demanding experiences of her life, she managed to get her exam done in 90 minutes.
With her exam out of the way, Collins had time to focus on labor and delivery. After 20 hours of going through labor, she welcomed a beautiful baby girl, who she named Tyler Elise. In all the commotion, Tommitrise did not realize that her sister Shanell took a picture of her taking her exam in the hospital bed hours before. After Tommitrise gave birth, Shanell posted the picture on Facebook and it subsequently went viral.
Alongside the picture, Shanell wrote a caption saying, “This is what you call strong priorities.” She went onto explained that while Tommatrise was having contractions three minutes apart, she was still writing her psychology exam and doing it through the pain. She went onto say what a great mom she thought her sister would make. It is clear from Tommatires’s actions that she values education, but what did her professor have to say about it?
In her interview with People, Collins explained that she did not look at the picture until she had given birth. She realized that her sister had tagged her in a Facebook photo and she said, “I finally looked on my phone and saw that people were ‘liking’ something.” While Tommatrise thought the photo was sweet, she had no idea how viral it would go and that it would wind up on the computer screen on her professor.
Dedication for education
It is not surprising that the picture went viral as it was an inspirational story of a young student and mother taking her education very seriously. It was surprising to many that she was able to still complete her exam while enduring labor pains and that she passed with a grade of 76. But the story doesn’t end here. After the news of Tommitrise’s story got out, her situation to an unexpected turn.
Social media post
Amongst the viewers of Shanell’s Facebook post was Collins’ psychology professor, whom she emailed and told she was going into labor. After the professor saw what lengths her student went to in order to do her exam, she decided that the dedicated mother and student deserved a big reward for what she went through. Without asking for any special favors, Tommitrise’s hard work and perseverance was about to pay off, though she never expected what her professor did next.
When the professor heard about what Tommitrise went through, she messaged her and said that she would be using some of her extra credit work in order to bump up the grade on her exam. In an interview with FOX5, Tommitrise said, “All I wanted was a B.” Thankfully, Tommatrise was able to maintain a high grade point average even though she was dealing all the challenges of pregnancy.
Joy of motherhood
After the birth of her daughter Tyler, Collins discussed the joy she felt in becoming a mother and explained how she did not let her pregnancy put her goals for the future on hold. She went onto say that motherhood is, “One of the best feelings in the world.” She told People that every cliche you hear about motherhood being the most amazing experience is true and she is enjoying caring for her daughter.
Adjusting to motherhood
Now that Collins’ exam is over, she can focus on being a mother and she is still stunned that she has a child. She explained that every time she sits with her daughter and looks down she thinks, “Wow, I really have a child now.” Collins went onto say that Tyler is now her entire life and that she will always be there for her daughter to depend on. And it seems that Collins’ degree will be useful in providing for her daughter.
Supporting her child
Tommatrise realizes that supporting a child is expensive and she explained that she does not want to have to scrape by in order to care for her daughter. She said that she wants to prove to the people around her that just because she is “a young mother doesn’t mean [she has] to be considered a bad mother.” Any mother that took a test while experiencing labor pains is clearly dedicated to providing for her child.
It seems as though all of Tomatrise’s hard worked paid off because she ultimately graduated with her bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from the university she attended in Georgia. One Collins received her degree, she began looking for a job in the field of forensic science and after searching and going to interviews, she was offered a position at her local Sheriff’s Department. But is it still a happy ending for this mother-daughter pair two years later?
While Tommatrise is flourishing in her new job and is putting her degree to good use, her most important job is still being a mother to her now two year-old daughter Tyler. Tommatrise realizes that although academic achievements are very commendable, she also knows that being a good parent is the most important role she can play in life and she is always working hard to provide for her daughter.
It was only a few years ago that Tommitrise had to face a tough decision in her life. Should she sacrifice her education to become a mother and leave college? Thankfully for both Tommatrise and Tyler, she pushed through the challenges and received her degree while caring for her newborn daughter. While Tommatrise’s kind professor helped her by adding to her grade, it was really the student’s hard work and dedication that paid off.