Dreams Have No Age Limit

A very busy “boy mom” of three, Misty Priebe ‘22 worked in customer service for more than 20 years to help financially support her family.  Starting a family at a young age, Misty was unable to finish high school and earned a GED while her children were small. It would be many years later, following a loved one’s mental health diagnosis, that she would discover her passion for helping others.

As Misty began to help navigate through healthcare treatment options, she identified issues that made this journey to health more difficult than expected.  She recognized there was a lack of professionals available to support the growing number of people, especially youth, that need access to mental health care.  As a caregiver and advocate, Misty was discouraged by this experience and knowing it was far too common, a new passion began to burn.  Inspired to do something to end the stigma of mental illness and improve the patient care experience, Misty decided it was time to pioneer change.

The Day Everything Changed

Misty drove by the Marian campus daily on the way to her boys’ school.  One day, she decided that she wasn’t going to pass by like she had done for many years.  She met Ben Soman, Senior Assistant Director of Financial Aid and Admission Liaison.  With Ben’s assistance, Misty was able to apply for admission and navigate financial aid. A simple process, she was all signed up that same day!  At the age of 35, the memory of this day will always hold a special place in her heart as it was the day everything changed.

Marian was a simple choice.  As a first-generation student, she appreciated having a campus that was easy to navigate as well as a smaller class size that made the learning process more personal.  Choosing Psychology was the next easy decision for Misty, but after those pivotal decisions, Misty felt significant anxiety about what would come next.  Determined to succeed, Misty found a community of academic support in a variety of resources such as the library and the Learning & Writing Center.

She worked with tutors, built relationships with faculty, and always felt the interactive learning environment helped her feel comfortable asking questions.  Misty credits one of her favorite resources, the Learning & Writing Center, saying, “Their amazing support was instrumental in helping me through these past four years.” As a non-traditional student coming back to school after 20 years, Misty was tasked with learning many skills that extended beyond her major.

Then and Now

Misty has a servant heart and desire to meet people in their time of need. She devoted time to being a tutor and appreciated the ability to offer similar support that helped her immensely at the beginning. With honors, she graduated this Spring earning her Bachelor’s degree – majoring in Psychology with a minor in Criminal Justice and plans to continue her education in pursuit of a master’s degree.  After graduate school, Misty’s goal is to continue patient advocacy work in the field before returning to academia where she hopes to participate in research, a place where she believes significant impact can occur.

She started this pursuit with a dream and as that evolved, Misty knew what she wanted. And it was the Marian community that helped guide her to the finish line. With extreme gratitude, Misty recalls every Professor and the profound impact they had on her learning experience especially those in the Psychology and Criminal Justice programs. She appreciates how they not only supported her academically, but also emotionally and shares, “their investment helped me develop the confidence I needed to trust my abilities and skills in executing projects and assignments.”

As Professors helped develop her academic skillset and affirm her capabilities, they also helped build her portfolio of experiences which led to her current job at the Solution Center’s Homeless Shelter. After several promotions, Misty is now a Family Emergency Shelter Case Manager gaining professional experience, growing in her passion for serving the underserved, and grateful to be applying everything she learned while pursuing her undergraduate. She believes, “I didn’t just get a liberal arts degree, but rather, a well-rounded education with all the tools needed to be successful in the future.”

Not only did Misty overcome each obstacle in the pursuit of her degree, but also while raising her family and working.  With a goal to make life better for others, she may have started with anxiety and doubt, but now she shines with confidence and sees that her life was changed for the better, too.  Believing that dreams do not have an age limit, Misty is most proud of the example she is teaching her boys.  She hopes her story will inspire them and others to believe in themselves, fearlessly chase their dreams, and always remember that no matter how difficult the road, an education will pave the way to great destinations.  With a personal mission to ensure everyone has the adequate treatment they deserve, Misty is grateful to Marian for the knowledge she has gained, relationships built, and for cultivating her passion into a degree that makes her future career goals possible.

Marian University’s Psychology program combines hand-on field experience, internships and research, and is taught by professors that share real-life expertise.  In addition to the traditional undergraduate offerings, students also have a 100% online program option.  Learn more about Marian’s Bachelor of Science in Psychology program.