Recent Graduate Shares Story of Balancing School, Work and Family

Lorin Lindell & Alyssa Evans

Returning to school can be stressful. Managing a job and caring for a family can be enough responsibility for many people; but recent Western Washington University graduate Dustin Nicholson isn’t one of those people.

Nicholson enrolled in Western’s Rehabilitation Counseling graduate program in Everett after hearing about the campus and faculty from co-workers.

“Co-workers from my previous employer couldn’t say enough about the RC program and their experiences,” Nicholson said. “When I was trying to decide what graduate program I should attend, location was important for me because I was working full-time and am a father to two daughters.”

After meeting with the RC program staff, Nicholson felt comfortable that the program was the best fit for him and his family, he said.

Nicholson was the first of his family to achieve any type of degree past a high school diploma, making him a first-generation student.

“I would think to myself, ‘Who would help me if I needed help with my homework? How will I manage school, work and life?’ Those were just a few of the questions I had entering the RC program,” Nicholson said. “But luckily for me, I had an amazing cohort, an amazing group of professors and an amazing group of rehabilitation counselors in the community who were not afraid to step in and help me through challenging parts of the program.”

Nicholson spoke to the friendships he developed while in the cohort. When asked about the most rewarding aspects of his cohort, he explained that members experienced similar stresses and offered support.

To learn more about Western’s Rehabilitation Counseling graduate program, visit