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Linda Santos

September 10, 2014//

Meet Linda Santos. She never thought she would come back to school, but the 47-year-old mother of two always knew she was meant to teach.

If it's your passion, you should so go for it. Don't let the idea that you're too old or that it's too late hold you back. It's never too late to embrace something that you know you love.

– Linda Santos

"When I decided to come back to school in 2011, I looked at several universities in the area," said Santos, a student in the College of Education and Human Development. "I chose UTSA because it seemed like a place where I would be comfortable, a place that was inviting."

Several years earlier, Santos attempted to go back to school, but decided to put her education on hold so she could devote herself entirely to her family.

"When my son left for college, my husband and my children said it was my turn to get a degree," she said. "I honestly didn't think I could do it. I had just lost my mother, who was killed by a drunk driver here in San Antonio. I had to help take care of my elderly father and I have a younger brother who has an intellectual disability. I had a lot on my plate and I didn't think I could do it."

But she did, and in the fall of 2011, Santos began taking two classes at the Downtown Campus in pursuit of a bachelor's degree in interdisciplinary studies. She's since increased her course load and is now a full-time student.

Santos has become a mentor to younger students she initially thought she wouldn't be able to keep up with over the last three years.

"When I started, I was a little guarded," Santos said. "I didn't expect to be welcomed the way I was. My classmates call me 'Mama Linda' because I could be their mom. We work collaboratively and we help one another and the age difference doesn't seem to even bother them. I think the younger students need me as much as I need them. We motivate and help each other. It isn't just them helping me all the time, it is also me helping them."

This December, Santos will have the chance to walk the stage and receive a degree that has been a lifetime in the making.

"If it's your passion, you should so go for it," she said. "Don't let the idea that you're too old or that it's too late hold you back. It's never too late to embrace something that you know you love. Yes it's hard, but it being hard is what makes it so good, what makes it so valuable to you because you are in a different place in life."

Do you know someone at UTSA who is achieving great things? Email us at social@utsa.edu so we might consider your submission for an upcoming installment of Meet a Roadrunner.

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