I feel that I have accomplished one of the big milestones of my life.
When you hear Ashford University graduate Ginger Jordan tell her story, you’re instantly moved by her courage and commitment. You also wonder if you could rise to the occasion as she did, when she was given a rare second chance at life. Diagnosed with Stage 3 ovarian cancer at age 36, Jordan feared she wouldn’t live another five years. Throughout her chemotherapy treatment she reflected on the choices she’d made over the years and thought about what she would have done differently.
“I had prayed and begged for another chance at this life,” she said. “I wasn’t ready for it to end just yet.”
On the day of her last treatment, Jordan learned the cancer was gone. She was getting the second chance she’d hoped for, and this time she wasn’t going to pass up any opportunities.
“Until this point, I was going through the motions, and my life was just passing me by,” she said. “As I sat in the recliner at the oncology center, I grabbed my laptop and went in search of online schools where I could earn my degree.”
A college education was the one thing Jordan wanted more than anything. As a teen, she admitted to having low self-esteem and little motivation, and she never considered college because she didn’t think she was “smart enough to do the work and earn a degree.” She’d made a living working in retail, with a job good enough to take care of her family, but it wasn’t worth the long hours and time she had to sacrifice away from them. Deep down, she knew she wanted to be an educator and inspire students to seize the opportunities she passed up earlier in life.
Jordan applied to an online university, but said, “The instructors did not seem to care much about me as a student, or if I succeeded.”
She left the school and continued her search, eventually finding Ashford.
“From the very first conversation with my advisor, I knew this was the school for me,” she said. “She made me feel as though I truly mattered. She took the time to get to know me and my career goals.”
Jordan enrolled in the Bachelor of Arts in Education Studies program, and the online experience helped create the balance she needed to take care of her family and finish coursework on her own time. She even proved her childhood insecurities were never true – Jordan was more than “smart enough,” and her high marks earned her invitations to both the Golden Key and Alpha Sigma Lambda honor societies.
In May 2016, Jordan traveled from her home in northern Florida to San Diego, where she attended Ashford’s Spring Commencement ceremony and graduated Magna Cum Laude. While there, she was able to celebrate with faculty and staff she’d come to know in her online classroom.
“They met us for the first time face-to-face and made us feel like we belonged. It was a wonderful experience,” she said. “Ashford believed in me, which caused me to believe in myself.”
Jordan now uses her degree to change young lives. After earning her teaching license* she began teaching third grade at Fessenden Elementary School in Ocala, FL; and she returned to Ashford to pursue her Master of Arts in Education, with an eye toward graduating in 2017.
Her students, she said, keep her motivated.
“I want them to know that I was once sitting at a desk in a classroom thinking I wasn’t good enough, she said. “We only get one shot at this life.
“The flame Ashford ignited within me will light the way as I go forth and attempt to provide the same inspiration for my future students.”
* An online degree from Ashford University does not lead to immediate teacher licensure in any state.