Local mom is fearless after being laid offWritten by Julie Ryan | | firstname.lastname@example.org
Heidi Brennan’s life is full: She has three stepsons — 10-year-old twins, Nathan and Keith, and 7-year-old Eric. She’s been married to her husband, Michael, for three years, and her mother-in-law lives in their home.
But that is just the beginning.
Brennan enrolled at Davis College in Toledo in 2006, while working at Energy Control in Maumee. Her husband recently returned to school full time for computer networking.
“I feel I was told to go back,” 34-year-old Brennan said. “God said, ‘Hey, you know what? Go.’ I’m not one to step out of my boundaries. But I went there and two weeks later, I was registered. It felt right. The environment was just perfect.”
Brennan recently lost the option to juggle work, family and school when she was laid off from her job as assistant to the office manager after 12 years with Energy Control.
“When they pulled me into the office, I had no fear, no dread,” she said. “I went, ‘Hey, it’s a good thing I’m back in school.’ I have so much more confidence now to go out and work, market and be in the world.”
She is comfortable at Davis, too. The students are returning adults — the average age is 30 — and the classes are small, Brennan said.
Vice President of Student Services Mary Ryan said the college is 20 percent above its admissions goal for the spring semester, and a lot of the people coming in are recently laid off.
“The instructors know what they are talking about,” Brennan said. “They make it that much easier because you know they have done it.”
Jessica Thompson is in the accounting and human resource management program with Brennan. She believes Brennan will rise to the challenge and work harder at school because she was laid off.
“She’s an excellent student; she pays attention and is very outgoing,” Thompson said. “We’re study buddies for the class we have together this semester, and it’s definitely helpful because if I don’t understand, she does and if she doesn’t, I do.”
This is the first time in her life Brennan is enjoying school. She’s a 1994 graduate of Bowsher.
“I was not a fan of school back then,” she said. “I really was not. I did not do good. I didn’t apply myself. I got Cs; I got by; I graduated. And now, if I could go back and tell myself how different it is, I would go back and tell myself, ‘You gotta go, trust me on this.’”
Brennan said by returning to school, she and her husband are setting an example for their three sons who now say they want to go to college, too.
“I have my accounting book out and I write in it and highlight it, and my kids go, ‘Oh, can you do that?’ and I say, ‘I spent $300 on this book, I can do whatever I want with it.’”
Even though it is tight for the family financially, Brennan believes it will pay off in the long run.
“I would do it again and tell anybody to try it,” she said. “If you are unemployed, go back.”