Webb ‘Unretires,’ Goes To GTCC, Winds Up With Two Degrees, New Career

Published on: April 22, 2021
Webb graduated from GTCC in 2019 with an associate degree in the Substance Abuse Concentration AAS.

Marti Webb retired. Then she decided to unretire and start all over.

It wasn’t an easy route for the former nurse who often refers to herself as a “baby boomer.” But with the help of Guilford Technical Community College, she not only succeeded she flourished.

“The GTCC professors understand that most of their students are not just right out of high school. They are either going back or retraining and they understand life happens,” said Webb.

A few years back Webb decided after a 25-year-career in nursing, she was going to retire.

“I was off for a while because my husband was ill and getting worse,” she said. “But I decided to go back to school. I looked at maybe getting a master’s degree in social work. I thought because I had a nursing degree it would only take me a year and a half to get it.”

She visited a four-year school, learned her classes from 25 years ago would not transfer and was shooed away. Her next visit was to GTCC and was it ever a great visit.

“I made an appointment at the Jamestown Campus. I went in and talked to Valena Ebert and she told me ‘you can do this. It doesn’t matter that you’re a baby boomer. What are your interests? What do you want to do? What is your end goal’?” recalled Webb, who said at the time her total computer knowledge was how to turn one on and check her email.

“She was so very nice and pointed me in the right direction for financial aid. She gave me a great view of the entire program.”

Webb enrolled in GTCC’s Substance Abuse Concentration AAS in the fall of 2017.

During the spring semester of 2018, Marti’s husband Tom was admitted to hospice.

“I went to the program director and talked to her and let them all know what was going on. They were so supportive,” said Webb.

In early August of 2018 her husband passed away.

“When I came back to school late in August, I was pretty lost. I was not sure I was going to be able to do it. My instructor kept checking in, making sure I was taking care of myself, making sure of my self-care, that I was taking time to grieve,” said Webb.

“During the Christmas break in 2018 she checked on me, they wanted to make sure I wasn’t spending time by myself. All of that was so great.”

Webb graduated from GTCC in 2019 with an associate degree in the Substance Abuse Concentration AAS. She also earned a North Carolina certified alcohol and drug counselor certificate. This met the requirements of the North Carolina Substance Abuse Practice Board (NCSAPPB) allowing her to become credentialed as a Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselor (CADC) which was a goal from the beginning.

Webb immediately enrolled in southern New Hampshire University’s online program and will soon secure a bachelor’s degree of human services. Graduate school will follow, she says.

“I have a family history of alcoholism. I myself am in long-term recovery. Just the past few years I have watched children of my friends, and in some case my actual friends, get really caught up in active substance abuse and lose their lives,” said Webb. “To me it was a natural segue from nursing into human services. I knew I needed something to be engaging with people.” 

Webb is currently searching for a job in her new career field, a point in life she firmly believes she would have never reached without that first visit to GTCC.

“I’m having so much fun with it this time around,” she said of her late-life college experience. “I may not have had that view if I hadn’t started at GTCC. I think for anyone going back after a long hiatus, it’s the place to start. The close-knit community environment just fosters your will to succeed.”

For more information on the certificate in substance abuse treatment, visit https://www.gtcc.edu/academics/academic-programs/programs/human-services-social-sciences/human-services-technology.php.

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