"I wanted something for myself, and I had always promised that I would get my degree."
Joanne Kleinhans, who graduated at age 60, is a great example of the innate value of education. Earning a college degree has professional value because it is often required for career advancement, and has personal value because it bolsters self-confidence, but education is also valuable because actively learning and thinking critically stimulates the brain.
For most of Joanne’s life, she was in a supportive role to her husband and her son. “After years of putting my ex-husband through school, being a stay-at-home mom, putting my child through school, and always being the cheerleader and ‘office staff’ for my ex-husband’s many career attempts, I was a divorced 58-year-old with no confirmable job experience. I wanted something for myself, and I had always promised that I would get my degree.”
This Issaquah, WA resident found Ashford through an education fair. “There were many universities represented, but the agent for Ashford assured me that I would receive personal guidance and treatment. I received a follow-up call that evening. All of my questions and concerns were addressed fully, with no obligation on my part until Ashford had met my requirements. I graduated on time in December 2010 - this was the original date I was given by Ashford. In everything, they were true to their word.”
For Joanne, the greatest challenge of returning to school was getting her brain back into the student mode. “I had attended college courses intermittently since my high school graduation in 1968, and had been told repeatedly that I was too old and it was a waste of money. So I was glad when the first required course pertained to adult education. It helped me tremendously. Soon, I found that I was capable of not only studying, but also excelling when I put in the effort. I still enjoyed learning.”
Joanne discovered many pleasant surprises with the online learning environment, but she was most impressed with her fellow classmates. “The people I got to know in each class were amazing. They were so diverse - all ages, races, careers, backgrounds, political opinions, and life experiences. I loved the interaction.”
Now that she’s finished her Bachelor of Arts in Organizational Management degree, Joanne reports that almost every area of her life has taken a positive turn. “I am much more confident in myself. My goals and priorities have changed, and have greatly improved. By the time I graduated, I could tell that my brain function was quicker and sharper. I had gotten into a rut before, and was feeling and acting old. I believe that by stimulating my brain, by learning something new, I got a ‘brain boost.’ I am enthusiastic, happy, and looking forward to the new and improved life Ashford opened to me.”