Overcoming the odds, Baylor student mom tells story

By Briana Garcia | Broadcast Reporter

Longview junior Kayla Escalante is not only a Baylor student but also a mother. She explained the challenges she has gone through at school but said that she has had a lot of support.

“Xavier is my son, and he is about 2 years old,” Escalante said. “When I’m taking notes and preparing for an exam, I always keep in mind that this is for Xavier, and it’s going to help me provide financial support and give him everything he wants in life.”

Escalante started her two years of school at Kilgore College, and after she graduated, she knew she wanted to get a doctoral degree and partake in physical therapy school. She said that she knew Baylor would be a great opportunity for her to get the education she wanted.

“I want to be a physical therapist at Baylor,” Escalante said. “Even though it’s not easy, I know I am supposed to be here, and I know what’s going to be better for my education and my son.”

However, Escalante said things were a bit different at Kilgore College. She was able to see her son every day there, but this is not the case at Baylor. She is now three and a half hours away and only gets to see Xavier on the weekends.

“It’s extremely hard to tell him I’ll see him later because transitioning to Baylor has been very different from Kilgore College, and I knew that,” Escalante said. “But I didn’t realize it would be this hard being away from him.”

Escalante said she has overcome the odds and knows that she is not alone. Without help from others, she said this situation would have been a lot different, and she would have been fighting battles by herself.

“The Counseling Center — they’ve been very helpful and reminding me that it’s OK to feel overwhelmed and to feel like you’re struggling sometimes,” Escalante said. “That’s what they’re there for, and it’s great.”

Randal Boldt, a licensed clinical psychologist, said the mission for the department of counseling is to foster wholeness for every student through caring relationships, cultural humility and integrative mental health services.

“Each student that attends the Counseling Center brings unique strengths and struggles, and the goal of our entire staff is to meet a student where they are at,” Boldt said.

Escalante said she has received a lot of help not only from the Counseling Center but also from her father.

“He was a big part of my motivation,” Escalante said. “He said, ‘Don’t worry about your son. I got him. I will take care of him. You go get that education for him, and it’s gonna be OK.’”