ashford student with her family

It’s nice to know there are other people going to school and trying to get that degree.


It’s not unusual for new students to wonder if online education will fit into their lives. For many students, the online modality represents a whole new way to learn. Such was the case for Hemda De La Rosa, who harbored many doubts about her ability to succeed in the online environment.

“I was a Gen X baby, so I’m not very tech savvy,” Hemda admitted.

In addition to her anxiety regarding technology, Hemda is a very busy woman. She questioned if she’d be able to find the time to pursue a college degree. “I have a full-time job and I have four children – girls ages 8, 10, 11, and 14. I’m also married, to top it all off.”

Despite her tight schedule and tech-phobia, Hemda decided to take the plunge into online education. “I want to move up the ladder with my organization, and you can’t do that without a degree.” Hemda explored several online universities, but was most impressed by the supportive enrollment staff at Ashford University. They walked her through every step of the admissions process, and she officially became an Ashford student in the summer of 2016. Nevertheless, Hemda still worried.

“So when I first started, I was thinking, ‘Oh gosh, the online thing! I barely know how to turn on a computer. This is going to be ridiculous.’ I cried, I think, the first night. I was like ‘I can’t do this. I am going to fail.’”

Those initial fears quickly dissipated though as she grew accustomed to the online experience.

“I’m getting the hang of it,” she said. “I’ve learned so much. I’m actually better at my job because of what I’m learning at school. So it’s helping me a lot.”

With the assistance of her family, Hemda has also managed to make time for her coursework.

“Before I started at Ashford, I had to sit down and talk to my family and make sure they were going to support me, because this is not an easy decision,” Hemda said. “I work from 7:00 to 4:00 and then I have to pick up my kids at four different schools. After traffic, we get home at about 6:00. My husband fixes dinner and he’s in charge of laundry. I just focus on my school. I spend about two hours doing my discussions and working on my paper.”

Not only is Hemda finding success with online education, she is relishing her time at Ashford. In particular, the sense of community she has experienced at Ashford has been an unexpected bonus.

“We’re all in it together,” she said about her classmates. “We’re from all over the country, you know. There are people from Texas and Florida, and from all walks of life. I’m able to communicate with them and we all pretty much have the same goal. It’s nice to know there are other people going to school and trying to get that degree.”

To further connect with the Ashford family, Hemda and her children participated in Heroes Day held in the fall of 2016. At the event, Ashford staff, faculty, students, and alumni came together to volunteer at The Jacobs & Cushman San Diego Food Bank.

With her fears about online education subsiding and her confidence in her abilities growing, Hemda finally feels like she belongs at Ashford. When interviewed at Heroes Day, she summed up her state of mind by saying, “Now I’m settled in, everything’s good, and I would like to give back to the community.”

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