Sat | Jun 6, 2020

From a rocky start to greatness – The Shabina Mitchell story - Part 2

Published:Saturday | August 24, 2019 | 12:00 AMTamara Bailey/Gleaner Writer
Shabina Mitchell and her son at her recent graduation ceremony.

Mandeville, Manchester:

“During this time (attending school part-time) I even started an online store – Bree’s 24 hours Fashion. I sold a variety of clothes, shoes and accessories,” Shabina Mitchell said, as she recounted all she did to make her university education possible.

She worked hard and had many successes, but she still had challenges that seemed to threaten the realisation of her goals.

“When I reached into my third year, l was told that I had completed all the general courses for my programme, and I would now have to attend day school to complete my core courses, as they all have a laboratory component and the labs are mostly done in the evenings.”

Mitchell said she had to make the hard decision of applying to the Students’ Loan Bureau, get another job on campus and come to the realisation that she would have to spend an extra year in school.

“I graduated in 2014 and I was excited to complete my BSc in biological sciences. I landed my first job at a high school teaching physics and chemistry. It was just for one term so by the end of December, I was job hunting again. This phase was a difficult one. I lost my father and the help I had with food and rent became non-existent.”

Death in the family

Shortly after the death of her father, Mitchell said she got a letter to begin repaying the student loan.

She had no job, no help, and her faith was waning. But God was working on her case behind the scenes.

“I met another angel who assisted me until l landed a job. During August 2015, a lecturer advised me to sign up for my master’s, and I said, ‘Sir, are you crazy? l have no money’. He told me to sign up and that something would work out. I signed up for my master’s in environmental science and I got through with graduate assistance.”

Mitchell continued to work several jobs at a number of places to ensure her needs were met, and the needs of her son who came in her life during the period.

Resumed studies

“During the same year I resumed my studies in environmental science at NCU, and I also started my diploma in education. In September 2017, I started teaching at Cross Keys High School. I went to work at the high school from 8 a.m. - 2:30 p.m., then I would work at NCU 3:30 p.m.- 6 p.m. Due to the distance, I started working at May Day High the following September as it was closer to NCU. So, I had three jobs, doing a degrees and a diploma and l had my son. If it wasn’t God, I don’t know how I would manage or what would have happened to me.”

Mitchell, who completed her master’s in environmental sciences and her postgraduate diploma in education recently, said the hardest part of her journey during that period was losing key persons in her life.

“When I lost my earth angel from my life, this tore me apart. The same time I lost her my dad died too, even though my dad and I did not spend much time together, (but) when we did it was superb.”

She said she is thankful for every person that was there for her along the way, and is now doing everything she can for her mini human.

“My biggest motivation is my son, because I do not want him to endure the life I did. I want a better life for him. The bonus to this also is that l am self-motivated. People might think I’m crazy, but I endorse self-love a lot. l try to be my best friend and my own cheerleader. I am determined and hard-working.”

With many things left to conquer, Mitchell said it is her hope that she will continue to allow the Lord to lead, be afforded the opportunity to enter into politics, study environmental law, acquire her PhD, and continue to motivate young people to become best versions of themselves.