Education Has No Age

A Mother of three setting the example for her kids


Lauren Sabia, Campus Editor

There are only 24 hours in a day. No one person gets more or less than the same amount of time the next person gets. Time is of the essence here, so what do you do with your 24 hours? 

For Victoria Van Loan, her day is packed with heading to work, packing lunches, studying for classes, writing discussion posts, going to counseling appointments, listening to lectures while cleaning or cooking, helping with her kid’s homework, and more. 

She spends her 24 hours being an online student at the Armstrong campus studying Psychology, but she also just so happens to be a mom of three. 

Initially, she went to a community college after high school in New York, but stopped right before her last semester. She later went on to finish her Associates degree, but it wasn’t until now, in her 40’s, that she really felt the need to get her Bachelor’s degree. 

“I feel like as my kids are getting older, they’re watching and it’s important for me to be something more than just the substitute teacher, or the waitress, or the bartender,” she admitted. “I want to be something for them, so I kind of came to this decision during the pandemic that it was time to go back.”

After moving to Florida, getting married, and moving back to New York, they thought of moving to Georgia which is how she started studying at Georgia Southern. Then they came to the final decision of moving back to Florida, which was always the plan. So on top of being a student and a mother, they are packing up their life and moving down the coast this month. 

Van Loan knew she wanted to do online classes to maintain her and her children’s routine, so Georgia Southern’s program was perfect for her. So far, she has completed two minimesters and is now working through the full, fall semester. 

She appreciatively said that all of her professors, academic advisors, and supporting advisors have been extremely understanding of her situation as a student. For example, if one of her kids is sick, her professor may give her the needed extension on an assignment.  

Van Loan and her wife made the life changing decision, eight years ago, to start fostering. “I always thought that it was really neat that, you know, they could provide a home,” she said. “So when we talked about it, that was our initial thing, to go in to adopt children.”

An emergency situation happened when they initially got their three kids that were siblings. She exclaimed, “We went from zero to three kids in like 20 hours and it was insane.” The first nine months were the hardest, but things got easier after developing a routine.

For a while, the kids were still doing visitations with their birth parents, which was very mentally draining for them. Their judge eventually stopped these visits, and then there was a series of lawyers, courts, bad phone calls with the birth parents, and many setbacks. 

After five years of fighting, they hired a lawyer themselves, and the mother and one of the fathers decided they were done since the county was going to terminate their rights. Three more, strenuous years went by of fighting the other father until they were finally able to adopt. 

“It came to a point where they were our children, and it was our family, and after that long of having them, they didn’t know anyone but us,” Van Loan said. Through the hardships and sacrifices they made, a loving family of five became their light at the end of the tunnel. 

Their son is the youngest of the three at eight-years-old. He has high functioning autism, so he requires a lot more attention then her other children. The middle child, who is 10-years-old, has some comprehension issues from being an alcohol fetal baby. 

Van Loan’s oldest is 13, and had a tough go at it with her birth parents before they got custody. She developed some learning disabilities and PTSD. When she started school a year after they started the adoption process, she had a lot of aggression and communication problems. 

It was hard for Van Loan to really understand what they were going through, so she would stay up all night reading and digging into their mental issues, as well as taking training classes on topics like play therapy. 

All three children require a lot of attention and work through their studies, so to be more involved with her children’s education, she started substitute teaching at their school. Beyond helping her own children, she became a rock and shoulder to lean on for the whole school. 

They noticed her empathy skills with making other, struggling kids comfortable, and would call her in to walk the halls with students that needed help feeling safe and heard. 

Her oldest also had some counselors that were extremely impactful on her family by further teaching her about their issues. “That’s really when I began to know that this is what I wanted to do, and I felt like I was good at it,” Van Loan stated. 

On top of all the draining tasks Van Loan does, and as if she has more than just 24 hours in a day, they also foster children. Whether they would have one child or more for a couple days or months at a time, she was always a phone call away for others in need.

Their foster kids, adopted children, and others at the school that have gone through hardships and developed mental disabilities collectively drove her to know that helping was her calling, and that she wanted to further study psychology.  

Through some of her courses, she has narrowed down her focus to developmental psychology and how someone develops socially and mentally affects the brain. 

She went on to say, “I think we forget that there’s day to day things that happen with kids, just like adults, and they need that mental stability and power, strength to deal with it.” 

Van Loan has a few more semesters to complete her bachelor’s degree, and she then plans on getting her Master’s in Psychology. Her goal is to get a license to do family counseling and child psychology. 

No matter what stage of life you are in, just know that your goals are achievable, and everyone deserves the opportunity to do what they love. Van Loan made this change, despite all of the reasons she “couldn’t” have, despite the adversity her and her family has gone through. 

Education has no age, no limits other than what some may think there are. It is never too late to stop learning or to stop growing. So remember to open up the books every once in a while. “Having no time” is not an excuse anymore if Victoria Van Loan can throughout her very busy days.