"I learned that people can start over in the middle of their lives and succeed."
“It’s been a hard road,” Jennifer Wood admitted as she wiped tears from her eyes at Ashford University’s 2015 Fall Commencement Weekend. The Colorado mother, who had struggled for years to find a college that fit her demanding lifestyle, had come to San Diego to celebrate her Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration degree.
As Jennifer’s husband and children watched from nearby, she talked about her long journey toward earning her degree. It began “years and years” ago with a failed attempt to attend community college. Later, when Jennifer decided to commit to her bachelor’s degree, she tried an online college. It wasn’t the right fit either. In 2012, she started researching courses at the Forbes School of Business® and found exactly what she was looking for.
“Talking to the staff at Ashford, the transfer process was so seamless and wonderful, and everybody has just been really, really supportive,” she said.
Jennifer had been working as an accounting technician, but dreamed of being hired as an accountant. It’s a career that’s in high demand – the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics listed accountants among the occupations projected to see the most job growth through 2024.
The degree, Jennifer hoped, would pave the way toward the career she wanted. But it wouldn’t happen without sacrifice, and she sometimes struggled to balance the priorities of school with her full-time job and family responsibilities – she and her husband have eight kids between the two of them.
“Doing the classes one right after another gets a little exhausting,” she said. “My husband’s just been incredible. He’s picked up extra shifts when I needed some time off, he’s been a rock.”
Jennifer also credited her student advisor with talking her “off of many ledges” during times of stress.
The hard work was worth it. Jennifer’s ambition and desire to learn more about her business paid off while she was still in school. In February she was hired as an accountant and received a “significant” raise following her graduation.
Like many students, Jennifer even learned a few things about herself while in school.
“I learned that I can complete a goal that I set for myself through hard work and dedication; I learned that I am a strong, intelligent woman with a [wonderful] family; I learned that people can start over in the middle of their lives and succeed,” she said.
Now, with her degree, a promotion, and renewed confidence, Jennifer is setting her sights higher. She recently enrolled at another school to complete her Master’s, and she envisions a future as an executive.
“I’d like to go a little bit further and be a CFO. I’m kind of on that stepping stone, that’s probably my next goal to achieve.”