Choose something you want to do, and work for it. That’s the message University of Houston-Victoria junior Rita Danes said she has always given to her daughters. And recently she took her own advice.
Danes changed her major from business marketing to criminal justice.
“It’s something I’ve always been interested in,” 38-year-old Danes said of the switch. “I’m loving my classes. I have a real passion for it.”
Danes was born and raised in San Antonio but chose to relocate to Victoria after a divorce. She graduated from Victoria College several years ago and knew she wanted to continue her education.
“I just never stopped,” she said with a laugh.
Danes admits that following her dreams hasn’t always been easy.
She finds herself balancing course work, her job and her most important role of all, that of being a single mom.
Danes called her chidren, 12-year-old Denise and 10-year-old Ivana, her biggest support system.
“They always encourage me,” she said. “And even though it’s not always easy, I’m glad they see me working to finish school. The whole goal is for them to follow my example and go on to get some form of higher education.”
During her time away from school and work, Danes and her daughters enjoy spending time together. The trio has movie nights and ventures out to estate sales, yard sales, trips to the beach and more.
“I always say you have to try everything once,” she said. “It’s good to learn new things. Try hiking or whatever else you’re interested in. If you don’t like it, don’t do it again.”
As for the future, Danes said she looks forward to graduating and getting into a career she loves.
“I’m still looking at options, but I want to do something where I can help youth,” she said. “I’ve looked into becoming a social worker or probation officer.”
Whatever the future holds, she’s excited. She advises others to further their education and reach for their dreams.
“Believe in yourself,” she said. “Regardless of your age, you can always succeed. Even when you have your bad days, never give up on you.”The UHV Outstanding Student is an online feature highlighting the exceptional students who attend the University of Houston-Victoria. To nominate a student, contact UHV Communications Manager Paula Cobler or call 361-570-4350.