Couple Sacrifices Time Together to Graduate Together From USU Moab
By Marcus Jensen |
MOAB, Utah — It’s a common scenario for many couples across the country. One partner decides that they are ready for a career change and it’s time to go back to school. With this change comes figuring out financial hurdles, working around employment schedules, scheduling who will accomplish chores and other tasks in the home, all while making time for loved ones and a social calendar.
For married couple Conrado Pastor and Quincy Masur, this was doubly difficult. Conrado and Quincy decided to both go back to school in 2020. Now in April 2023, the couple will graduate from Utah State University Moab. Quincy will earn an associate’s in registered nursing, while Conrado will graduate from the Electrical Apprenticeship program with his certificate of completion.
The couple moved to Moab in 2017 from Indiana. To make ends meet, Quincy worked in the tourist industry and also worked in several restaurants in Moab. Conrado also worked in restaurants, as well as landscaping work. Yet each felt like they would rather be doing something else, something for which they had more of a passion.
When the COVID-19 pandemic hit Moab, things temporarily shut down and gave the couple a chance to evaluate what they wanted to do next. Always having an interest in nursing, Quincy decided she wanted to go to school and earn her nursing degree.
“Without knowing how long it would take to make life ‘normal’ again and not being able to travel around, but pretty much being obligated to stay home, it was the perfect opportunity to start a new career,” Conrado said.
Seeing she could earn the degree from USU Moab without having to travel anywhere else, Quincy applied and encouraged Conrado to go to school with her. Conrado was interested but was not quite sure what program would be right for him. But fate, in the disguise of a faulty swamp cooler, intervened.
The couple’s air conditioning unit began to short out during the hot Moab summer. Not knowing much about electrical work at the time, Conrado enlisted the help of one of his neighbors. The neighbor gave him some ideas of things he could try, and with the help of the internet as well as this neighbor, Conrado was able to fix the unit and once again have a comfortable home. His interest in electrical work, just like the now-working swamp cooler, was sparked, and he decided to follow his wife’s encouragement and enroll in the electrical apprenticeship program at USU Moab.
“My best motivation for deciding to go back to school was my wife, Quincy,” Conrado said. “She was thinking about starting the nursing program at USU and asked me what I would do if I would go to school. She pushed me to get involved. She always supports me in everything I do, so I felt very positive about it.”
The couple has enjoyed their time at the USU Moab campus. They love that it is right in their own town and they can stay in their community while receiving their schooling.
“USU Moab has been really good,” Quincy said. “I like the small size of my cohort and getting to know people at the hospital through my clinicals. It definitely has a small-town feel. It’s awesome that it’s all right here and we haven’t had to leave.”
When not in his classwork, Conrado works as an electrical journeyman. Conrado works his hardest to learn on the job, something his wife thinks is all the more impressive, because Spanish is Conrado’s native language. He was born in Argentina.
“I am super proud of him because he is doing this all in his second language,” Quincy said.
When not in class or juggling homework, Quincy works at Moab Regional Hospital as a licensed practical nurse, a certification she already received from USU Moab. She plans on working as an RN at Moab Regional after graduation. With a hectic schedule that doesn’t always line up, Quincy and Conrado try to stay connected as much as possible.
“Juggling spending time together has been a challenge,” Conrado said. “We miss each other on weekdays and on weekends, and having different schedules makes sharing time a bit harder. But the good thing is that we both support each other and send texts checking on how things are going, or a simple ‘I love you.’ That helps our relationship stay strong.”
As the couple moves closer to their graduation date, they continue to focus on the tasks at hand. While the journey has been difficult, each sees it as worth the effort.
“It’s a lot and it’s hard, but you just need to take it one day at a time,” Quincy said. We have a good partnership, which makes going to school at the same time much easier.”
Located in the outdoor recreation paradise of Moab and boasting one of the greenest buildings on any USU campus, Utah State University Moab offers students the personalized attention and small class sizes of a small-town college with the resources of a large university. With programs such as Nursing, Elementary Education, Recreation Resource Management and Social Work, technical education in Health Professions, Automotive and Business, and degree options ranging from certificate to doctorate degrees, USU Moab offers programs that help fuel local economies and empower individuals and their communities. Learn more at moab.usu.edu.
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