The need for employment is the reason Janet Howard drives 100 miles from Hannibal to Columbia every day.
Howard has worked at MU for two years. She is the administrative assistant for the Black Studies program, handling all fiscal work necessary to keep the program going.
She is no stranger to long drives; she spent two years driving back and forth to St. Charles to earn a degree in computer networking. She is currently working on an online degree in criminal justice from John Wood Community College in Illinois.
Howard lives in her Hannibal home because she wants to be close to her mother. But the drives are not easy for a single mother with two college-aged children.
“Everything in my town that I might have to take care of businesswise closes at five o’clock,” she said. “But my boss has been very nice about it. I now have 236,000 miles on my car, six chips and a big crack in my windshield.”
But there are also good things about the long drive.
“I usually start out my morning praying, even in the car, and I think that’s one positive of the drive,” Howard said. “I play gospel music and pray for family and friends.”
In a message to young students, Howard said, “In life you have to make sacrifices and sometimes the road that you might have thought you were going to take — the path may not always be easy. But if you stay on the right path eventually everything will work out. You just have to have faith.”
— Jen Loehr