My dream had always been to finish my education. I had a handful of units early on, but then other life events took priority. I was a single parent for many years. To try to go to college, work full time, and raise my son properly was not feasible.
In recent years I began checking into degree completion programs. I found that it would take me a long time to gain the GE units though community college in order to transfer. Needless to say, I became discouraged and pretty much gave up on the dream; however, boredom set in and I became hungry to learn and grow.
I was initially drawn to Vanguard because my son Mark attended and graduated here. As I witnessed his experience, I could not help but notice how he thrived in this enriching environment. He described a sense of community like no other.
In January 2008, I was turned down for a job that I had done successfully for the last 20 years. They told me that I could not even get an interview due to the lack of the degree. I completely understood but then that reality became alarming as I knew in my heart that I wanted to grow and do something different long term. It was unsettling to think of getting older and being turned down for a job that I had done for so many years. This experience was the push I needed.
I surrendered this yearning to God on a Friday, and by Saturday morning the thought occurred to me just go on the Vanguard Website…”What do I have to lose?” I got on the site and found, to my surprise and delight, Vanguard had a degree completion program and offered GE classes. I wasted no time and was in the Vanguard office that Monday morning. This was a life changing moment.
I knew this was the place for me, but I had not been in a college learning environment in years and was not sure what I was taking on. The academic advisers helped me pick the easier classes to begin. It was easier than I had anticipated. I also noticed right away how enriching the classes were and how much I enjoyed this new facet in my life.
The common thread is that the Vanguard professors are here because they have chosen Vanguard and it shows. They love what they do and are passionate about the material; it is contagious. They have a mentoring style, they are engaging and interactive, not just lecturers. Even the tough classes for me like biochemistry and statistics kept my attention due to the professors.
During the undergrad psychology program, I had a desire to continue and go for a Master’s degree. My professors encouraged me to go on, but I had not made up my mind. Could I keep working full time as I did in SPS? The desire to continue became stronger.
Last April, I ran into Kristi Starkey, Director of Recruitment for Vanguard’s SPS. Kristi was also was the first person I met the day I came in to apply for undergrad SPS. She also finished the Master’s program in Psychology while working full time. Kristi shared the program’s flexibility in being able to go nights and finish in four years if needed. I believe running in to Kristi that day was a divine appointment – I decided that day to apply based on her encouragement. I was accepted to the Vanguard Master’s in Clinical Psychology program. The ultimate goal is to get licensed as an MFT. I am so excited!
The advice I would offer to anyone thinking about attending Vanguard is to take the leap. There are so many resources available to empower a student to finish. You are not just a number here. Some of the resources that helped me were the writing center and tutors for difficult classes. There is a wealth of help available. The professors are so approachable, and if you run into issues, they will work with you. Lastly, enjoy the journey, and embrace this wonderful experience!
Vanguard University’s School for Professional Studies offers programs in: