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Meet Joyce Murphy

Photo of Joyce Murphy
Joyce Murphy is the assistant director for special populations in the Counseling, Advising and Retention Services Office, but she started out as a returning adult student.

Joyce’s beliefs about returning to college come from both her study of philosophy and her own experience.  She embarked on college courses at the age of 36 so she would have the credentials for substitute teaching.  It was the incredible encouragement and support she encountered at AACC that made her advance beyond being a substitute teacher. In a very real way, she teaches each student she advises.

She classified herself as a drifter and had no clear goal when she started.  Her fears were similar to those expressed by many returning adults; she thought everyone would be young.  To her surprise, even in her day classes, it was a level-playing field.

“It’s not like high school.  It’s fun. The key is to start slowly.  If you’re terrified of something, take it one small step at a time. Build your self-confidence and that will guarantee your success.  If you take just one class in something that you think you will enjoy, it will get you into the groove and your study skills will come back.”

Joyce took a philosophy class at AACC that she said changed her life forever.  “The knowledge you gain makes you a totally different person.”

Joyce went on to transfer to Towson University and earned her baccalaureate degree in history. She then earned her master’s degree at Johns Hopkins University. It was the realization that she could be successful that propelled her onto each new step. 

Joyce can identify with the concerns of a returning student because she has traveled the path. Even if one has to drop out for a while to deal with the responsibilities of work and family life, AACC makes it easy for the student to come back. If you need to talk about your concerns, Joyce is available for a pep-talk or sound advice based on personal experience. Just stop by to see her!