A memorable photo taken this month has not only highlighted a mother’s accomplishments, but her son’s love for her.
Brittney Brooks graduated with her MBA from the University of Maryland University College on May 13. At lunch after her graduation, she took a now-viral photo with her son, 4-year-old Mason, while holding a sign that read, “I did it.” Mason also held a sign that acknowledged his mother’s hard work. It read, “No! Mom, you mastered it.”
Brooks’ brother, Xavier Codie Robinson (known as artist Codie Monowi online), shared the Pinterest-inspired photo on Twitter where it has been retweeted more than 5,000 times. Brooks told HuffPost she’s glad the photo has had such an “inspiring effect” on people.
“I just wanted to take this with my son and hang it at work or home and share with a couple of friends on social media, but I never thought it would be this big,” she said.
In 2009, Brooks earned her bachelor’s degree in communications with honors as well as a concentration in public relations from Bowie State University. She attempted to get her master’s in 2011 and later dropped out when she became pregnant and decided she wanted “to enjoy the blessing” of her first child. She then went back to school in 2015 and never looked back. She credited her family for helping her with her goal.
“I would not do it without the love and support of my family and most importantly God and my fiance,” she told HuffPost. “He is amazing and a great dad. Without him I wouldn’t be able to do it. He is my biggest supporter along with my son and they push me to do better and go further.”
Robinson told HuffPost he’s also excited about the photo going viral and said he is very proud of his sister’s accomplishments.
“I’ve seen her studying in her living room while bouncing on calls, planning her wedding and making sure her son is taken care of,” he said. “The greatest part about it was never seeing her knees shake under the pressure.”
When asked if she had advice for other students pursuing their master’s degree, Brooks, who is now looking for jobs in management consulting or event planning, stressed the importance of a solid support system.
“Some people look at the picture and think I did this on my own and that I am a single mom, but that’s far from the truth,” she told HuffPost. “I had a great support system and even though it was hard and I felt like giving up so many times, I pulled through because I had people depending on me.”
She also stressed that the kind of support she received can come in many forms.
“It could be family, friends, coworkers, whoever, but that’s what’s going to get you through ― their words, advice, support and encouragement.”
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