I have set higher standards for myself.
The wife of a retired soldier, Jackie Haskin spent much of her life moving around. "I loved all of the moving – we went to places we never would have gotten to go on our own. I actually miss it." But changing cities so often also created challenges, especially when it came to Jackie's education. "Every time we moved, I lost credits. After I was finally able to earn an Associate's degree, I stopped going."
When her husband, Lowell, separated from the military, Jackie found herself with a full-time job in Utah – it was the most permanent living situation she'd had in years. "I did not like that I had not finished what I had started, so I decided to go back to school. It helped that my employer, L-3 Communications, places a very high value on formal education; it helped even more that they assist with tuition." But the most important influence to Jackie's decision to return to school was her daughter, Megan. "I would like her to see that there is value in earning a degree."
Once enrolled in Ashford's Bachelor of Arts in Organizational Management online degree program, Jackie found that she loved the online environment. Studying online required an independence that created a strong feeling of self-reliance and bred self-confidence. While a student, she told us, "I love that there are no group projects. Life is a group project; work is a group project. I really needed to do something where the results were all about what I put into it. I needed to prove to myself that I could do it."
Like many online students, Jackie found the intensive writing required by the program challenging, saying, "My papers need a ton of editing, and there are always the APA standards to consider. Sometimes I feel like there's just never enough time." But Jackie always pushed through these moments of frustration and got the job done. "The biggest surprise is that I have been able to do it! I was not a very good student in my earlier attempts at earning a degree – I would do just enough to get by – but that is no longer good enough for me. I have set higher standards for myself."
Those high standards included pursuing a graduate degree. After completing her Bachelor's degree in 2009, Jackie surged ahead and enrolled in Ashford's online Master of Arts in Organizational Management degree program, and she graduated in August 2011.
The confidence and independence that Jackie exudes is one of the greatest things she has gained from pursuing higher education. "I learned that it's all up to me – how well I do, as well as what I get out of it. Even if I struggle with a class, it is only five or six weeks and then I am done. Time goes flying by and I get so much accomplished that it is hard not to be proud of myself."