“If you really want to do something, don’t let people discourage you. If it’s real to you, it can be to everyone too.”
With perseverance, anything is possible. Candace Malone is proof that if you put your mind to something, you can do anything.
In 2011, at the age of 41, Candace became familiar with Ivy Tech while preparing for her G.E.D. She loved her experience so much that she knew she wanted to come to Ivy Tech to earn her college degree.
“I loved the fact that Ivy Tech was a school that met the needs of the working adult and offered classes in the evenings. I had some of the best professors ever, that no matter how hard it got for me, they never let me give up on myself.”
At the beginning of her first year at Ivy Tech, she was not sure what she wanted to do. But by the end of the first year, Candace began to see a clear path for her future. With more than 20 years of sobriety, she wanted to pursue a career helping women with substance abuse issues.
Candace’s first step to achieve this goal was to obtain her associate degree in human services. Throughout her time at Ivy Tech, she loved how every course was a stepping stone for her future. Each of her professors always pushed her to do her best and never give up, which is something she says she will carry on with her.
In addition to her studies, Candace joined the National Society of Leadership and Success (NSLS) in 2013 and was inducted into the group in 2014. She had not heard of the group until they reached out to her, which is something they do for students with a GPA of 3.0 or higher. Being a person who made the Dean’s List several semesters in a row, she was an ideal candidate for this group.
Through the NSLS, she was able to network with other students and professionals. The group helps members build on their resume, make connections and learn ways to enhance their career.
Candace will graduate from Ivy Tech in December 2016. She plans to take a few months off to spend time with her two grandchildren. From there, she will attend Indiana Wesleyan University for a bachelor’s degree in addictions counseling.
Long term, Candace hopes to open a house in Indianapolis for women with substance abuse issues. She will assist them with getting and staying sober, obtaining valuable job and interview skills, sharing parenting tips and providing stable transitional housing.
“I have a lot to offer these women and I just want to give back to the community,” she said. “Just because you make bad choices does not make you a bad person. I just want to share my experience with them so they know without a doubt that they and their children are worthy of all that this world has to offer—and to never forget: ‘excuses are just dressed up lies’.”
Now that Candace is another step closer to her long term goals, she hopes others pursue their dreams too.
“If you really want to do something, don’t let people discourage you,” she said. “Even if it seems silly, if it’s real to you, it can be to everyone too.”