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Overcoming adversity is something that Shante Webb knows all too well. After 17 years of marriage, Shante divorced in April 2014 and became a single mother to six children, one of whom has special needs. At the time, she was the owner of a childcare business that barely made ends meet. Just three months later, Shante was in a serious car accident involving a fatality that caused so much trauma that it was necessary to amputate her left arm from her bicep down. After a surgeon agreed to perform surgery to try to save what was left of her arm, her mother was advised that if the procedure worked, Shante would have a very long road ahead of her. She was in a coma for two days and would need many additional surgeries. Continuing to operate her daycare was no longer an option.
“I found myself going through a divorce, trying to survive a major car accident, and without a job in the blink of an eye. I knew I had to find a way no matter what; giving up is never an option.” Although she was granted state assistance for a year because she required several more surgeries, Shante decided to search for a job that she could perform with her limitations. In January 2015 she went to a temporary agency that placed her at Johns Hopkins making $18 an hour, barely enough to support her large family. A second job was out of the question at the time with multiple surgeries ahead. Her immediate supervisor, Reatha Holt, gave Shante some life-changing advice: “You need to go to school, and in a few years, you will only need one job.” She pushed back with all the reasons why she couldn’t – she only had the use of one arm, was working full-time and raising six children ranging in age from 4 to 14 years old. She was told, “Little girl, go to school.” Since Holt, also a single mom, had been right about so many things before, Shante took the advice to heart.
She enrolled at Harford Community College and worked with her advisor, Anna Berglowe-Lynch, Coordinator for Career Services, who helped Shante to plan her schedule – and so much more. “The advisors are amazing and beyond helpful. She helped me with every and anything I needed. I could not have made it without her. She even went so far as to assist me with picking the best professor per course. Although college is challenging, she removed a lot of the obstacles for me.” While at Hopkins and during her three years at Harford, Shante went through nine surgeries – including an elbow donation, thumb fusion, tendon transfer, two sets of tissue expanders, and last but not least, an arm implant. “If I had a surgery, I took off on a Friday, had surgery that day, rested as much as possible during the weekend, and went to work and school on Monday.” One semester, she underwent two surgeries and developed complications, and she failed her classes. But Shante did not give up. “I called Anna, we picked comparable classes, and I was right back at it.” She said, “I wanted my kids to know that during adversity, you do not get weaker, you get stronger.”
With an anticipated December 2018 graduation date, she began searching for new career opportunities in the spring. She found an amazing position, but learned she would have to wait 10 months before she could start. In the meantime, since she needed additional income, she left Hopkins and took a higher paying job as a call center manager working a crazy schedule: two days, two nights, and a mid-shift. On the two days she worked, she went to school at night. It was extremely difficult on the whole family. “I used to say, ‘I am not where I want to be, but I am not where I used to be.”
Shante is amazed at where she is now, saying, “I cry at the thought of what I had to overcome.” Her children are now ages 10-20. “I am so proud of and thankful to them for enduring with me.” She deeply appreciates all the help – including cooking, cleaning, childcare and encouragement – that her family and friends provided during her time of need.
Shante’s advice: “No matter how difficult or tired or overwhelmed you become, keep running the race. The finish line does come, and whether you run, jog, walk, crawl, it doesn’t matter as long as you get there. Who cares if it takes five years? The finish line will come. Life is a marathon, not a sprint.” She added, “Seriously, I want everyone to know days are long but years are short. Get through those long days no matter what; the finish line is there, and it is waiting for you. My friend Melinda would always say, ‘You got this!’ I would say to all the students out there, ‘You got this!’ The only thing worse than putting in the work to get where you want to be is not putting in the work and staying where you are.”
Shante Webb graduated from Harford Community College with an Associate of Arts in General Studies. She transferred to Park University in March 2019 and is working toward both a BA and a master’s degree in Business Administration with a concentration in Finance Management. She is pursuing a career in the budget area for the military and has aspirations of one day becoming a branch chief in the Budget Realm.
We are so proud of Shante and wish her the very best as she continues on her remarkable journey!
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