A little healthy competition can be a great motivator, and Juliette and Kristine Medrano say that small doses of trying to outdo each other were one of the things that kept them moving forward to their bachelor’s degrees at St. Petersburg College. The mother/daughter duo graduated together in May, both with bachelor’s degrees in Business Administration with a concentration in Management.
Medrano mom, Kristine, started taking classes at SPC part time in 2014. She was a busy wife and mom of four, working 50 hours a week as a medical assistant at a pediatrician’s office. But she had goals.
“It was rough, working and taking night classes, but I wanted to get more into the administrative side of things, with a long-term goal of working for the Veteran’s Administration.”
Juliette joined her mom at SPC in 2015 when she entered the Early College program. When Juliette earned her Associate Degree and high school diploma simultaneously in 2017, she found she had won a Johnnie Ruth Clark scholarship, which covers up to 12 credit hours per term for two years, immediately following high school graduation. Both women were majoring in Business Administration, so they decided to team up.
“We coordinated our classes as much as we could,” Juliette said. “And we were able to do our Capstone Project together.”
The two agree that having a live-in classmate helped things move forward smoothly, and sharing books cut costs, as well. The two made note cards, studied together, and proofed each other’s work.
“It was nice having a study buddy in the house and not have to coordinate study dates outside the house,” Kristine said.
Kristine almost quit when she landed her dream job at the VA in Bradenton. With the commute and long, tiring hours, she felt done by the time she got home each night, but Juliette kept her going.
“Juliette was a great motivator,” Kristine said. “When I got home, she would say, ‘I know you’re tired, but here’s some dinner – let’s do this!’”
Juliette said the was support was reciprocal, with Kristine offering motivation and moral support right back.
“We’re a military family and we moved every three or four years, and my father was deployed a lot,” Juliette said. “So we’ve always been close. No matter how independent you feel, it’s good to have someone helping you along.”
The two aren’t finished, however. Juliette, who is volunteering at the VA and hoping to land a full-time position there, wants to earn her master’s in Business Administration. Kristine is working as an administrative position at the VA and plans to pursue a master’s in marketing.
“It’s never too late to go back to school,” Kristine said. “This degree was a long time coming, and I’m going to take a little bitty break, then head for my master’s.”
But what of the competition? Juliette said that they are both competitive, so they found it very motivating to present a challenge for higher test or assignment grades. In the end, Juliette graduated Summa Cum Laude, while Kristine earned Magna Cum Laude honors, and Juliette earned two points higher than her mom on their Capstone Project.
“But honestly, Mom won most of the time,” Juliette admits. “But I know she loves to see me succeed, and I owe everything to her and how hard she’s worked for our family.”