16:59 PM

UHCL grad juggles responsibilities to achieve her dreams

Written by: Cynthia Anaya
Sarah Plain pictured with her tortoise, Titanus.  Plain is graduating with a Bachelor of Science in Psychology on Dec. 9 at NRG Stadium.

If there is one University of Houston-Clear Lake student who knows a thing or two about being selfless and juggling numerous responsibilities, it is Sarah Plain. She earned her GED at 16 to work full-time and help her family. A few years later, she began caring for her husband after he started having severe medical complications. She also became the sole caretaker for her disabled father – all while working full-time, working an occasional second job, and attending college.

Today, Sarah is looking forward to being the first person in her family to earn a college degree. She is receiving a Bachelor of Science in Psychology.

Her decision to attend college stemmed not from a place of need or a dream to pursue a particular career but from a desire to simply enjoy her life. In the years leading up to college enrollment, she worked at fast-food restaurants and held other small jobs.

“I was always a logical thinker,” she said, “and one day it hit me that a third of your life is spent at work, so if you’re not happy where you’re working, you’re going to be unhappy for the majority of your life. I have relatives who were forced to take jobs they didn’t like because they didn’t go to college. So, I saw going to college as a way to open opportunities for me to go somewhere I would enjoy every day.”

Choosing to study at UH-Clear Lake was also a logical decision for this first-generation college student, one that was based primarily on convenience. She wanted to attend a campus close to home to fit in with her busy home life. UHCL checked that box for her. As a nature lover, she was also captivated by campus’s natural green space, but that was not the only highlight of her time at UHCL.

“To me, the psychology department was just amazing,” she added. “Every class I took was very interesting, engaging, and informative. Plus, my professors seemed very passionate in their expertise, and they assisted in my educational journey in one way or another.”

She elected to study psychology because the notion of being able to “evaluate a person’s mind and learn why they do what they do” intrigued her. She hopes to one day become a psychology instructor. Currently, she works as a student help specialist at a college, where she assists students in achieving their goals.

When she is not working or studying, Sarah enjoys spending time with her family (including her pets) and volunteering at her church. She shares her home with two Miniature Australian Shepherds, Lily and Theo, and a 15-pound Sulcata tortoise named Titanus. She also loves to travel.

 “Mainly, I do a lot of cruising,” she said. “I try to do one cruise a year. My favorite places that I’ve traveled to so far have been Belize and Cozumel. I’m going to Alaska in 2025 for my 10-year anniversary.”

Sarah will join hundreds of other Hawks at UHCL’s commencement ceremony on Saturday, Dec. 9, at NRG Arena. You can learn more about UHCL’s psychology program and degree options by visiting www.uhcl.edu/human-sciences-humanities/departments/psychology/