Melisa Kilpatrick

Kilpatrick Making an Impactful Career Change Thanks to Mississippi State University Online

Headshot photo of Melisa Kilpatrick

The challenges of life that Melisa Kilpatrick faced brought her to pursuing a psychology degree online through Mississippi State University. Her passions, struggles, and victories have made her the person she is today, and in August of 2020, Kilpatrick was one of three recipients for the Distance Makes a Difference Scholarship awarded by MSU Online thanks to many generous donors.

“If it wasn’t for distance learning, I wouldn’t have been able to further my education at all or pursue a different career field. I am really grateful for distance learning,” said Kilpatrick.

Kilpatrick’s passion for psychology came after a tough period in her life. A few years ago Kilpatrick’s husband came to her in a time of struggle. “He came forward to tell me that he was addicted to Methamphetamine. He was working full time and going to school full time. He was at the top of his class and in Phi Theta Kappa. He thought it would help him stay awake. It wasn’t just pretty bad, it was awful. It basically came down to me staying to help him or grabbing everything and running,” said Kilpatrick.

She stayed to help her husband overcome his addiction, but it was hard for her and her family to find the support that they needed not only for her husband but also for she and her children to learn how to cope with the situation. “We eventually found people in small towns to help, but it is hard to find people that are willing to help. It is hard to find the information you need. That is why I really thought the psychology field would be good for me. I would like to work with families struggling because being a support for someone who is struggling with addiction is extremely hard,” said Kilpatrick.

After a couple of internet searches, she stumbled upon distance education at MSU, and when she saw that there was a psychology program, she knew that is exactly what she was supposed to do.

“I started in January 2020, and even though I had my associate degree, this was all new to me. I was horrified. I was working full time in a long-term care facility, and I had three kids at home. After getting started, I really enjoyed my online courses. Then COVID hit. We went on complete lockdown, and it was chaotic. I just thought, ‘please, let me make it through the semester.’ My husband had to stop working to stay home with our kids. So, we were only living on my income,” said Kilpatrick.

The challenges Kilpatrick faced did not stop her from pursuing her degree. She is expected to graduate in the Fall of 2021. “The biggest challenge for me has always been my schedule and finding a balance with everything now that my husband has gone back to work and I am working from home, taking classes full time, and homeschooling my children. It is crazy trying to juggle this. My advice for someone in a situation like mine would be that if I can do this, you can do it. A lot of people are scared to go back to school after they have been out for a while. I still struggle sometimes, but the professors do a really good job of giving step by step instructions, working with you, and explaining things when you need help,” said Kilpatrick.

Kilpatrick was one of three recipients of the Distance Makes a Difference Scholarship. “This scholarship has been like a weight lifted off my shoulders. All of the scholarships I have received were a sign to me that I was supposed to go back to college, and I am supposed to finish this degree. It has been a blessing,” said Kilpatrick.

Thanks to the scholarship, the support from her family, and her drive to make a difference in the lives of others, Kilpatrick has continued to push through and work towards graduating with a Bachelor of Science in Psychology.

Distance has made a difference in Kilpatrick’s life, and her degree will allow her to make a difference in other’s lives. She has continually persevered through challenges, and MSU Online is proud to announce Melisa Kilpatrick as a recipient of the Distance Makes a Difference Scholarship. Are you interested in pursuing a degree online? To learn more about our degree programs visit online.msstate.edu/academic-programs.


Story by: Hannah Oliver
Photo: Submitted