Student Profile

Darlene PivaDarlene Piva Discovers She Can Return to School and Balance Family Life

When Darlene Piva (Turchetta) looks back on what the most difficult aspect of working towards her degree has been, she has one response: the fear of applying. "I had a lot of fear and anxiety, which is what kept me from applying." Happily, she is well past that fear now. 

In 1990, Darlene graduated from Providence College with a degree in economics and went straight into banking, where she stayed for several years. In time, she moved into the training and development of management employees. "That's when I found what I loved." Darlene enjoyed coordinating projects with a variety of people, but more than anything, loved helping people develop.  "I ran an executive training program; it was great to see the development of people in a nine-month period."

In 2000, the bank she worked with was purchased by another. With a three year old daughter and a second daughter on the way, Darlene chose to leave work to stay home with her children, while continuing to work in training and development on the side. In 2007, she heard about William James College's M.A. in Organizational Psychology program through a friend who graduated from the program. She found the curriculum fascinating, but wasn't sure if she was right for the program. Over the next six years, she played with the idea of applying. "I would go on the website and think 'I don't know if I can do this…'" The more she thought about it, the more Darlene struggled with the possibility of balancing school and being there for her daughters. 

That all changed when William James College began offering a new way to take the curriculum. "Last summer, I was visiting the website and all of a sudden saw 'new part time curriculum.' I thought, 'that's a possibility!' I sent in my application, literally the day of the deadline." She was accepted, and quickly fell in love with the program, especially its perspective on building individual methodology and its emphasis on student development, both professionally and personally. "Ever since applying, I've had nothing but support from everyone in the program." Further, the part-time, online approach to her classes allows Darlene to fulfill her roles with her now teenage daughters, while succeeding in the classroom. 

When she thinks about others who are in the same position she was in a year ago, Darlene has one piece of advice: "Don't let fear stop you, when you've been out of school so long, you lack the self confidence that you can do it again. 'What if I don't have time? What if I have an assignment and I can't get it done on time? Are the students all going to be younger than me?' All of those fears keep you putting it off. It worked the way that's best for me right now, but I could have done it sooner." She is about to start her second year in William James College's Master of Arts in Organizational Psychology program. "I'm glad I finally took the first step to apply and have found each successive step a little easier as I go through the program." Darlene is currently considering whether she wants to work with a consulting organization, striking out on her own after graduating, or applying for William James College's PsyD program in Leadership Psychology.


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