Paralegal student feels empowered to turn a dream into reality

Paralegal student feels empowered to turn a dream into realityJune 03, 2020

The image to use for this article. Listing image managed through RSS tab. After overcoming several obstacles, Tiffany Stott is now fulfilling her dream of a legal career.

“I am now a world away from where I was seven years ago!” Tiffany Stott exclaimed.  “I never thought I’d be able to go back to school.  This is a dream come true; I constantly have to pinch myself!”

Stott grew up in Midland and graduated from Lee High School in 2006.  After high school graduation, she took some courses at Midland College, but then fell in love, got married, had a son and moved to Montana and Utah for several years.  Seven years ago, she ended a bad marriage.  After divorce and negotiating custody arrangements, Stott finally was able to move back to Midland with her young son Branson. 

“I just did what all single mothers do,” Stott said.  “I realized I was now the breadwinner of the family, so I got a job and arranged for daycare for Branson.  In the evenings, my time was spent with Branson.  I had always been interested in studying law, and I had even done some research into the paralegal program at Midland College; however, even though I desperately wanted to go back to school, there was just no time to go to class.”

Stott started working at Community National Bank as a lending assistant, a job she still enjoys today.  She and Loan Officer Alan Kaup deal with debt collections, foreclosures and repossessions.  She found that she enjoyed her job at the bank.  So, Branson, who is now 8, and Tiffany settled into a satisfying routine. 

“I managed to make enough money to support the two of us, and we even began taking small trips,” Stott explained.  “I had never traveled much when I was a child, and I wanted to give Branson opportunities to see other places.  At first, the aspect of traveling alone with a small child seemed a little daunting, but we just got in the car and did it.  It’s been fun.  We’ve been to Carlsbad Caverns, the Davis Mountains, Six Flags and Sea World.  We were planning a trip to South Padre Island over this past Spring Break; however, the Coronavirus pandemic caused us to postpone that trip.  Branson has never seen the beach, and I’ve never been to Padre Island.  We are really looking forward to it.”

Despite making an enjoyable life for Branson and herself, Stott still had her eye on continuing her education.  In the summer of 2019, she was able to see her goal come to fruition.

“I discovered that I could complete an Associate of Applied Science degree in Paralegal completely online!” Stott said.  “I had already taken most of my core college courses before I got married, so I already had over 30 hours of college credit.  

“I thought, OK, I can do this.  I have a laptop and Internet connection. I may have to get a loan to pay for tuition and books, but here’s my chance; now is the time to make that dream come true!”

Then, right after Stott had visited with a Midland College advisor and worked out a course plan, her laptop broke.

“I remember telling one of the counselors at Safe Place, where I participate in group therapy sessions, that I just didn’t know if I could do it,” Stott recalled.  “Purchasing a new laptop was not in my budget, and there was no way I could take courses without a computer.  I was pretty close to tears.

“The next day, I got a call from staff at Safe Place telling me that I should apply for one of their scholarships.  I got the scholarship, which not only paid for tuition, fees and books, but also a new laptop!”

Stott just completed her second semester of paralegal courses at Midland College.  She takes approximately 6 hours each semester and is on track to graduate in May 2021.  She said that her favorite classes are those where she gets to analyze the law and write about it. 

“I find myself seeing the legal aspect of everything these days,” Stott said.  “The Paralegal classes have also made me more confident in talking to people.  I enjoy helping my boss find ways to assist people who are about to have a home foreclosed or a car repossessed.  We call it ‘credit rehab.’  My boss lets me read all the legal petitions, summary judgments and depositions that come across his desk.  He thinks I’m crazy for wanting to go through all that paper!

“I do most of my studying at night after Branson goes to bed around 8:00.  I find myself looking forward to it, even though some nights I’m up until 1:00 or 2:00 in the morning.  I am finally doing something for myself.”

Stott also credits Midland College Paralegal Professor Charity Rohlfs with giving her encouragement along the way. 

“Tiffany is one of my most dedicated, intelligent and hardworking students, and it shows in her work, Rohlfs said.  “She is outstanding at applying complex legal standards to issues and providing logical analysis.  Tiffany doesn’t stop at being a superior student; she also finds time to assist her peers as well as maintaining full-time employment and raising her son.  Tiffany has grit; she is tenacious, courageous, and any employer should jump at the chance to hire her.” 

“The support I’ve gotten from people at Safe Place and Midland College is truly amazing,” Stott said.  “I am so grateful that Midland College is here for students like me.  The professors and staff really seem to understand that students are from all different walks of life.  Never in my life have I felt so empowered.  This is my chance to make a better life for my son.  I want to be an example to him that if you put your mind to it, you can do anything!”

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Midland, Texas 79705
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