Winthrop University

Amanda Cavin (2013)

My First Generation Story

My name is Amanda Cavin and I am a full-time, first-generation, post-traditional student. Until a few years ago, not completing college had been my biggest regret. But, as a junior in Winthrop University’s Richard W. Riley College of Education, I can now say that I am doing something most people can’t: fixing that regret.

I had taken classes at Winthrop right after graduating from high school. I was working full-time and didn’t possess the maturity or self-discipline that is required to give my classes the necessary attention. I dropped out and continued to work full-time. Over the years, I have taken some courses at York Technical College, but most of them have been job-specific.

I have been active in my church and in the school community for the 15 years I have had children. I was a stay-at-home mom for three years, but had worked full-time otherwise until June 2010, when my position was eliminated. I was unable to find another job and, having always regretted that I didn’t finish college, my husband and I decided I should enroll at Winthrop. I could finally pursue my dream of becoming a teacher and investing in the lives of children.

I re-enrolled at Winthrop in 2011 and was immediately presented with a few obstacles, which I overcame. I’m now on the Dean’s List. So often you hear that college professors do not care if you pass or even if you come to class. That is not the experience I have had. I have met some wonderful professors who care for me and care whether or not I succeed. I was afraid I would not make friends easily as a post-traditional student, but that has not been the case. I have even been able to plug into the Palmetto State Teacher’s Association on campus and am currently serving as its president. I was also honored to do research, entitled, “How Do Teachers Define Teacher Quality?”

Being both a college student and a mother is quite a balancing act. My biggest struggle is balancing my commitment to college with my commitment to family: son Ian, 17; and daughters Jennings, 15; Kaci, 12; and Emma, 11. Six people living on one income is challenging, but my husband and I know the value my education will bring.

About the Student

Amanda Cavin Resized

Amanda Cavin is a full-time, first-generation, post-traditional student in Winthrop's Richard W. Riley College of Education. The 41-year-old, married, mother of four is balancing courses and family life to fulfill her goal of becoming a principal. She is president of the Palmetto State Teacher’s Association on campus and has conducted research as a McNair Scholar. She's working to fulfill her biggest life regret of not graduating from college. She hopes to one day make a difference in the lives of children, just as educators have made a difference in her life and the lives of her children.

Student Stats

Name: Amanda Cavin (2013)
Age: 41
Year in School: Junior
Major: Elementary Education
Favorite Course: Early Childhood Methods
Dream Job: Principal

About the School

FGV: Winthrop University

Winthrop is a public, comprehensive university that blends liberal arts, professional programs, global awareness, and civic engagement. No matter what students study at Winthrop, they are ready for a life of professional success, democratic citizenship in a global environment, and a personal life of meaning and value. These outcomes reflect the university’s commitment to be among the very best institutions of our kind in the nation.



  • Kellee Edmonds
    Vice President of Communications and Public Relations
    (202) 478-4662