Returning to school after 25 years, a mother excels, thanks to interactive learning

Mayen Handy with her husband, children, son-in-law, daughter-in-law, and grandson

“I have always loved to learn,” Mayen Handy declared.

A mother of seven, Mayen (pictured above at center with her husband, children, son-in-law, daughter-in-law, and grandson) left college to raise her family. In the process of homeschooling her children for almost fifteen years, she thought about her own educational goals. “I desired to learn more myself and finish my education,” she explained.

So, in the fall of 2015, after a twenty-five year gap, Mayen decided to return to school. She first took classes at Chandler-Gilbert Community College (CGCC) in Arizona to earn some transfer credits and then enrolled full-time in Arizona State University (ASU) in the spring of 2016. Expecting to complete a BS in sociology in December 2016, she plans to earn at least a master’s degree and teach sociology at the college level.

To fulfill a requirement at CGCC, Mayen took American National Government, an online political science class. Initially, she “was not sure about online learning,” she confessed, because she thought she wouldn’t understand the material well without face-to-face contact with a professor and classmates. However, the course used REVEL for American Government, an interactive learning program, which helped her master the content and greatly engaged her.

Mayen found REVEL’s multimedia features valuable. “The best part” of the interactive learning program “was the audio,” she said. “It helped me stay on task while reading the text. I was able to read along and listen to the narrator, sometimes listening over and over until I understood the information.”

“I also enjoyed the short, interesting videos. The ability to watch videos throughout was helpful to keep me glued to my chapters.”

REVEL helped me to understand more about politics in America and sparked my interest.


“The quizzes helped me build confidence,” Mayen commented, “letting me see that my first thoughts were usually correct and leading me to not overthink my answers.”

Summing up the benefits of the interactive learning program, she exclaimed, “I received an A!”

Headshot of Mayen HandyFirst inspired by her children to return to school, Mayen said her children now motivate her to excel. “My adult kids motivate me by getting better grades than me, and another son just graduated this past spring, ahead of me! I hope to receive my bachelor’s degree before my eldest gets his master’s degree, but I like this ability to have competition, camaraderie, and encouragement to finish my degrees and achieve success.”

“I am also motivated by having a chance to be a teacher’s assistant at ASU this coming fall,” she added. “Since I will probably attain my master’s at ASU, I look forward to working with my professors and other students to move up in my future profession.”

As an adult learner, Mayen said the most important lesson she’s learned is this: “You are never too old to reach your dreams. You can do more than you think if you allow others to help motivate you and turn off negative thoughts.”