It was just three years ago that Deasia Watkins, then an aspiring pianist, had it all. She was in the prime of her life, about to graduate high school and go off to college on a full scholarship. But then she got pregnant and gave birth to her son, William, at 18 years old. Overwhelmed by parenthood and juggling schoolwork with childcare, Deasia dropped out of school before finishing her degree—a huge disappointment to her family and teachers who had high hopes for her. How can Deasia move forward? Is she destined to stay in this rut forever? Read on to find out!
About Deasia Watkins
Born and raised in Inglewood, California, Deasia Watkins knew she wanted to be a teacher. She graduated from Lincoln High School and achieved her bachelor’s degree from UCLA. After graduation, she taught elementary school for five years before moving to Sacramento with her husband and daughter. In Sacramento, she was blessed with the opportunity to continue teaching at Keshena Elementary as well as substitute teaching at various other schools around the district.
Growing Up Fast
Born and raised in the small Ohio town of Freeport, Deasia was a typical All-American girl with hopes of someday playing for the WNBA. Growing up, she wanted to be famous, but little did she know that she would be one of the most talked about celebrities.
Graduating High School
I had it all planned out. I was going to graduate and I was going to go straight on to college, Deasia explained. But her plans soon changed. I was like ‘okay since you didn’t graduate, this is what’s best for you.’ The woman who encouraged Deasia to continue with her education wound up being instrumental in getting her started on the road that would lead her there.
Going To College
After graduating from high school, Deasia faced the big decision of what to do next. At first, she thought about going to a trade school and learning to be a medical assistant, but her grades were too low for that option. That left two options: Stay at home or go to college. Even though it meant saving money and getting a part-time job, she knew it was important to make the time and effort to attend college. I don’t want to look back and regret not making the most out of my opportunities, she said. Her mom’s support helped her stay focused on her goals as well. I told myself I’m not going to fail because I want to provide for my family.
Getting Into Medical School
I was always told I had to be a doctor. All the adults would tell me this. But I knew, and still know, that medicine is not for me. Yes, my grades were always fantastic, and yes I was on the honor roll but more than anything medicine just wasn’t my calling. Some people have spent their entire lives trying to get into medical school while not truly knowing what they want to do. They’re probably stressed out by the pressure of having all these adults telling them what they should do. And then there’s me, with no pressure from anyone else to decide because I can make up my mind without feeling bad about it. When I found out that there was an alternative route through nursing, it felt like I had finally found myself again. The idea of being able to help so many people and never feeling pressured again sounded perfect to me. Now if only those other adults will stop telling me what to do!
Becoming a Doctor
At 22 years old, Deasia Watkins was pregnant with her third child and attending school at Morgan State University. Knowing she could not be both a mother and a physician, she dropped out of medical school to focus on raising her children. Eight years later, life dealt Dea another hard blow when her two youngest children were killed in a car accident. She was now an empty nester for the second time and had no intention of going back to college or working outside the home. But one day, while reflecting on her current situation and future dreams she decided it was time for a change. She went back to Morgan State University part-time while working as an RN full-time. After four years, she graduated Summa Cum Laude with a degree in nursing administration – becoming the first member of her family to graduate from college.
The car driving alongside me slows down to a stop and the window rolls down. The man inside looks at me and asks, You alright? He reaches over to my hand and pulls it off the steering wheel. I look at him then back ahead of me, continuing to drive. I have no idea how many miles I drove like this. All I know is that when he said you need help for the second time, something clicked. With his assistance, I pulled into an alleyway. We were both silent as he pulled out his phone and dialed 911. It was only after we heard sirens approaching that he turned to me and asked what happened. I couldn’t answer him but managed to give him a weak smile before telling him to thank you for everything he did for me tonight.