10 Life Changes that Come with a Degree | Ashford Connections
The 3 Scholars—Gerri, Tanisha, and Myke—share the positive outcomes that can come from earning your degree. Their #AshfordConnections stories show the power of friendship, support, and achieving great things together. Here, the 3 Scholars share ten qualities that came with their educational journey.
1. More Confidence
“My confidence is through the roof. After earning my master’s, I am unstoppable,” says Gerri.
“The degree has built my confidence in my abilities and knowledge to go after higher-level promotions and positions with new companies that I would not have pursued previously,” notes Myke.
2. Career Advancement
“I moved a couple steps higher up the corporate ladder since finishing my bachelor’s and another step up with finishing my master’s. I have reached the peak in the company I work for now,” explains Myke.
Gerri echoes, “I am the Chief of Staff of Perkins Management Services, a position that was created for me as a result of earning my master’s degree. As chief of staff, I am the executive in charge of administrative operations for the entire organization.”
“During my interview with my current company, I was told how impressed they were with me. My new manager asked me questions about Ashford University because she said that they provided me with a great education. She is considering going to Ashford to obtain the same degree,” says Tanisha.
3. Inspiring Others
“I needed to set the example for my then 12-year-old daughter, who [now 18 years old] not only wants to get a college degree, but wants to be an entrepreneur. My co-worker is now a student at Ashford because she was inspired by me (and also because I am always talking about how great my school is). My ex-husband is also now back in school to earn his bachelor’s degree,” says Gerri.
“My purpose for attending Ashford is my family,” Myke agrees. “I hope my youngest daughter, who graduated from high school the same week I graduated with my master’s, will follow my footsteps and that by seeing me finish the path I started, will follow through with her commitment to obtain a PhD in psychology.”
“I hope that my story inspires anyone who wants to return to school. It doesn't matter your age or what you have going on in your life. Ashford University wants you to be successful. The staff and faculty have always been extremely helpful any time I reached out for assistance,” encourages Tanisha.
4. Inner Strength
“Working all day and coming home to care for an elderly parent, tending to a child (homework, etc.), making sure everyone is taken care of before sitting to do school work all constitute a challenge. Losing my dad in 2015 was very difficult. Many days I wanted to quit school, but somehow I found the strength to keep going. I’m glad I did,” shares Gerri.
Tanisha relates to Gerri’s experience. “While pursuing my master’s degree, I gave birth to my son. I went into the hospital to have him on Tuesday January 31, 2017. That Thursday, I remember logging into my classroom to post an assignment. I was determined to finish the program while I was on maternity leave. I was able to achieve my goals and graduated on time,” she reflects.
“I was a part of several honor societies: Golden Key, Alpha Sigma Lambda, and Sigma Beta Delta. I was also one of the founding officers (Vice President) of the Ashford SHRM Chapter,” Gerri notes.
“The extracurricular activity I was most active in was the SHRM Chapter. More importantly, I have a new circle of friends, from the East Coast to Hawaii, that I keep in contact with,” says Myke.
“The networking events Ashford holds were very helpful. It was nice to meet fellow online students, staff, and faculty,” says Tanisha. “Dr. Katie Thiry is an excellent faculty member. She is engaged with her students and does not make them feel as if they are just online students. She is available when help is needed, even after the program, and does not mind going above and beyond for her students.”
6. Improved Professional Skills
“I make decisions differently now, with critical thought. I am a better listener and am always open to constructive criticism. That was not always the case,” notes Gerri with a laugh.
“Now I am more interested in sharing my knowledge and experience with the next generation of Ashford graduates and future business leaders,” says Myke.
“I learned how to use online sites and technical software. I may not have gained this knowledge if I went to a traditional university,” says Tanisha.
7. Ability to See the Big Picture
“When it gets really difficult (and it will), keep your focus on the big picture. Remember why you started in the first place. For me, it was setting the example for my daughter, setting myself up for advancement in my career, and the experience of hearing my name being called and marching across that stage to receive my degree (in that order),” encourages Gerri.
“You learn that you are capable, and responsible to take advantage of the resources in your life,” advises Myke.
“Perseverance pays off. Quitting should never be an option. You’re stronger than you think. Finish it,” Gerri shares enthusiastically.
“The biggest change is that I decided to continue my education to get my PhD so I can return to Ashford as an instructor,” Myke shares.
“I feel that my career now has endless opportunities thanks to the knowledge I gained from Ashford University,” says Tanisha.
9. Lasting Friendships
“What surprised me the most was that I was able to make friends. These friendships were never part of my plan in earning a degree, and not something I was even interested in. Now, they are just as important to me as the degrees hanging on my wall.” says Myke.
“Never in my imagination did I expect I’d meet and become friends (now family) with my fellow classmates. I never expected to meet a professor who would take such an interest in my development as a student and now in my career,” adds Gerri.
10. Mastery of Online Learning
“Having the responsibility of our education on our shoulders, online students need to be focused, determined, and disciplined, which are valuable characteristics in the workplace. Even with the challenges of online learning, it was the only way I would have been able to pursue higher education. I would not have been able to earn either degree at a traditional brick and mortar university,” says Myke.
“You must be disciplined. Use resources that are available. You can still make friends and network online,” says Tanisha.
The 3 Scholars inspired faculty, staff, and students at Ashford—and the #AshfordConnections movement, which encourages students to connect to others in the classroom and find the support they need to succeed in academic programs and beyond.
Thank you to our 3 Scholars for their hard work, dedication, and inspiration to all of us at Ashford University. We wish them the best of luck in their PhD programs and beyond!
Written by Myke McCune, Gerri Wilson, Tanisha Neal, and Kelsey Bober, Content Manager for Bridgepoint Education