What is your motivation for obtaining your degree?
I believe going back to school is a privilege not many are afforded, nor is it one that is easily earned. It has been a long journey back to the classroom; a journey that has taken me a decade to return to, but has been worth the struggle, sacrifice, and the wait. Thus, I am savoring every moment of my educational experience with Averett University’s Graduate & Professional Studies MBA program.
I consider myself a life-long learner, and I have always enjoyed going to school to learn new things. I was able to attend a university right after I graduated high school, but after two years, I realized I could no longer afford it. I went back to community college to complete my associate’s degree after my second year at my first school, and then I went on enlist in the military to serve my country and earn my education benefits. I started working towards my bachelor’s degree while I was deployed, and I was able to complete my program in April of 2015. At that same time, I finished serving my active duty contract, I joined my current reserve unit, I completed my internship at the Virginia Department of Labor & Industry, and I started a new career in human resources with my current company. As a recently separated United States Air Force veteran, I quickly realized receiving a higher level education is quintessential to becoming a knowledgeable, marketable professional outside of the military. I value and cherish my opportunity to learn in the classroom because I had to go through fire to learn to appreciate what I have.
I am also highly motivated to achieve my degree because once I was hired at my new job, I learned right away that I had to go back to school to learn more about human resources on a more detailed/deeper level. The education I received in my bachelor’s program is just not enough to keep up with everything I am required to know at my workplace. Moreover, there is a significant experience gap between me and my co-workers, who all have over 15 years of experience in the HR field. Getting a graduate degree will help lessen the gap between my junior experience and their senior talents.
Furthermore, my goal is to become an outstanding contributor for my organization. One day, I hope to be a coach and mentor for young professionals like myself. I believe that in order to do so, I have to study to become a subject matter expert in my field. Having the education, coupled with years of experience, will help establish my credibility and confidence to lead and manage future teams. I want to earn and hold the title of “professional” throughout my lifetime.
Why did you choose Averett’s Graduate & Professional Studies Program?
It took me over a year to find the right program I wanted to enroll in. I researched degree programs at several local and online institutions, but none offered the exact degree I wanted. One program came close, but my VA Education Benefits would not have covered all the expenses. I was very happy when I learned about Averett’s on-ground, MBA in Management, with a concentration in Human Resources Management degree program. After being deployed and being limited to taking online classes, I really wanted an in-classroom experience where I could communicate and collaborate with other professionals who work at different companies, and who have different back grounds and life-experiences I could learn from. I felt very isolated being in an online degree program; I like the energy that comes from being able to interact with my classmates and teammates. I also chose to participate in an on-ground program because I wanted to be able to ask a lot of questions directly to experts in the field.
The evening class schedule is another factor that helped me make my choice about which institution to attend. Evening classes are very convenient because I do not have to take time off from work to attend them once a week. I also really like that the courses are scheduled one at a time, and with an accelerated tempo.
Please share one tip for your fellow classmates and future AU students:
Do not hesitate to ask questions and seek help. This education experience is ours, make sure it meets your expectations. If you are not getting the help you need, keep asking. Someone will help you. If you have a question, chances are, another classmate has the same one, so ask. I called a professor kind of late the night before the start of a new class to ask for clarification about assignments that I did not realize were due on first day, and she answered my call! Long story short, I got all my homework done, shared the information with classmates, and the mission was completed on time and on target.
What helps to keep you motivated while you are in the program?
I have a very strong support system, and they are all eager to celebrate with me at the finish line. I am blessed with an encouraging family, engaged co-workers, and understanding friends. My husband found out the day after I received my acceptance/welcome phone call that he had to relocate to Georgia for work. He lives in Georgia now, and I decided to stay and live here in Virginia until I graduate (we are both veterans, so we both know how to make the best of our time apart). He and his co-workers pray for my success often, which helps me stay connected with them even though we are geographically separated. By the grace of God, my brother has moved from California to study here in Virginia. We motivate each other and hold each other accountable for studying and getting good grades. We want to do good to make our mom proud (and she is).
My classmates are awesome. We were able to form and perform as a synergized group within the first class. We vowed to graduate on time together.
My co-workers and supervisors are also very supportive. They always ask how I am doing in school, and they enjoy discussing the topics I am learning about in school. Several things we’ve studied in class have coincided with real-life events at work, and I’ve been able to apply my learning to several cases already. I truly value having complementing work and school activities; it’s instant gratification & application. I even told our President & CEO that I started this program and he was super happy and impressed.
On my hardest days, during my toughest academic weeks, I remind myself that I prayed for this opportunity when I was deployed in the desert (desperately searching for the one geocoordinate that had Wi-Fi). I am here now, so I cannot lose sight of what I had to do to get here and why I am doing it.
What is your anticipated Date of Graduation?
Averett University, Class of 2018!