Some may know her as the chief’s wife, and others as “Mama Mardis,” but what some do not know is that Robin Mardis is also a Tuskegee University student.
“I believe I was lead here for a purpose and that was to finish what I started 40 years ago,” Mrs. Mardis said.
Originally a part of the class of 1981 when she first enrolled as a Tuskegee student, she’s back on track to graduate with the Class of 2019 — with no intentions of interrupting her studies this time.
A rough start
As someone who loved everything about animals, Mrs. Mardis knew that veterinary science was the major for her. However, what she did not realize was how challenging the curriculum would be — it was filled with all the things she did not like.
“I always loved animals, but I never loved biology and math, as they are my weaknesses,” she recalled. “It did not take me but a short period of time to realize that this major was a big ‘no’ for me.”
After deciding veterinary science was not the route for her, Mrs. Mardis decided to major in accounting. Although the major also required math, she felt that it was possible with the help of her boyfriend, as well as taking only one subject she disliked. Everything was going accordingly — so she thought — but found the distractions of college life ultimately became overwhelming.
“I did not know how to ask for help and how to handle my responsibilities,” she said. “I found myself following my friends and partied my way out.”
I’m back and I’m better
Ultimately, returning to Tuskegee as an adult, or what some refer to as a “non-traditional student” was a scary decision for her, but also one of her best.
“My support system was and still is great,” Mrs. Mardis notes. “My mom even went with me to registration.”
Her transition back to the classroom would be a challenge at first, but not for long. In the beginning, she was wary of her younger classmates because she was unsure of how they would perceive her. Now, however, she refers to them as her “village.” If she ever needs help someone is always there to lend a hand.
Although her road to earning her degree the first time went to a detour, she now cruises with only a few bumps along the way. Mrs. Mardis is currently a junior majoring in communication. As for plans after graduation, she jokingly states, “I plan to rest my brain.” However, on a more serious note, she hopes to use her degree for something for which she has a passion — photography.
You can do it too
A former Marching Crimson Piper and someone who comes from a long line of Tuskegee Golden Tigers, it was only right for Mrs. Mardis to come back and earn her degree. With her last year quickly approaching, she is excited to see what the future holds. Although her journey will be over at Tuskegee it will not be over in the future.
“Jump on in, the water is fine. You will feel lost sometimes, but if you have a good support system, you can do it,” Mrs. Mardis advised to anyone contemplating on returning to college in their later years. Mrs. Mardis has proven to many that anything is possible if you put your mind to it — and it is never too late.
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