Bachelor of Arts in Psychology, 2010
"The classes were demanding and the instructors were attentive. I enjoyed every class, and I miss it already!"
Brian Wallstein lives in Mt. Shasta, which is in Siskiyou County, California. He describes his home as "an alpine wonderland boasting a 14,192-foot volcanic mountain with hundreds of lakes, a national forest, and rich folklore replete with UFO mysticism." Brian moved to Mt. Shasta over 30 years ago. "We came for the summer and wound up staying."
At the time he moved to Mt. Shasta, Brian was enrolled in an adult education program that specialized in psychology and counseling, and through that program he interned for seven years as a professional counselor. He also started a family, and eventually left his counseling career to open an auto repair shop.
Ten years of working in the repair shop caused his lower back to fail. He closed the shop temporarily, but soon reopened, against doctor's orders. "Eighteen months back in the shop destroyed what was left of my back, and I underwent non-invasive surgery. When that surgery failed, I decided to go back to school." Brian returned to his original interest in counseling and began work to complete his degree; at the same time, he opened a computer business where he established and installed networks. Just after completing the degree, he learned his back still needed work – he would need two spinal fusions. Around the same time, Brian discovered that his counseling degree was not regionally accredited.
"In the two years that I had the spinal fusions, I enrolled at Ashford University to earn my Bachelor of Arts in Psychology. I was back at the beginning, so to speak: I was back to my calling of helping others." He selected Ashford largely because of the regional accreditation, but also because Ashford offered online courses. "Taking courses online accommodated my healing back, eliminating the drive to the closest university, which was 70 miles away." Once enrolled, Brian found he thoroughly enjoyed the experience, and sometimes finds it hard to believe that he has already completed the degree. "The classes were demanding and the instructors were attentive. I enjoyed every class, and I miss it already!"
Now that he has a degree in hand, Brian plans to dedicate his career to the field of social services. He explains that throughout his life and his myriad experiences, he has learned to live by one important truth: Never give up. His aim now is to help others discover the same confidence. "Most people really desire two simple components that are in short supply: encouragement, and the belief that they are good. My intention is to help people identify their obstacles and create plans to succeed."
"Without Ashford, none of what I have done would have been possible. I have researched other schools and Ashford is by far the most professional, informative, and supportive choice. With the help of the financial aid department and my academic advisor, I was supported with a clear path – and all of it made my recovery much more graceful."