Photo credit: Dionne Jones.
WHY I WANTED TO EARN A DEGREE: I knew I wouldn’t get far in my career without a bachelor’s degree. It’s a staple in today’s world. I also wanted to be a role model for my kids. My oldest is 8 now. At my graduation, it became very apparent to him what I had accomplished—and he is very proud of me.
WHAT I DID AT THE SAME TIME: I worked as a coordinator in trauma services at Barnes-Jewish Hospital in St. Louis, Mo. I’m married with two children, so I had family responsibilities, and I also actively volunteered at a shelter for pregnant women with children.
HOW I BALANCED EVERYTHING: I’ve always been very organized; I’m good with timelines and schedules. I broke my projects into small, manageable pieces I’d complete during lunch or after my boys went to bed. The support of my family was very important. I explained to my kids that I needed to do homework, and my older son made a point to help out by entertaining our younger son. My husband also helped with child care during the week. We’re a very good team.
HOW OTHERS HELPED ME SUCCEED: It was great to share my ideas with my husband. We always talked about my classes, and sometimes I’d ask him to read my papers and give me feedback. At work, my boss supports everyone who wants to obtain higher education. She was very flexible, allowing me to work different days or hours if I had a lot of schoolwork. Someone I work with also went to Walden—that’s how I found out about it—and we supported each other. We’d share ideas about our papers and assignments, which helped both of us succeed. Three other people in my department are also going to school, and we would read each other’s papers. It was a very supportive atmosphere. The collaborative environment challenged me to learn even more.
HOW MY EDUCATION HAS IMPACTED MY LIFE: I’ve taken everything I’ve learned since I started at Walden and implemented it in my work or life in some way. In one course, we were asked to use social media to make an impact. As I was writing the assignment, which involved linking Facebook and Twitter accounts to a website I created, I realized I could expand the project to help parents who are new to the school my son attends. I created an FAQ page to help the school improve its communication with parents. In 2013, the school implemented those changes, which was very rewarding.
BIGGEST CHANGE IN MY LIFE SINCE GRADUATION: I am more confident in everything I do, especially now that I’ve taken on the additional responsibility of being one of the contacts for the hospital’s media department for trauma services. I’m proud I had the drive to complete my degree.
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