My name is Ann Marie Nembirkow. In May of this year, 20 years after starting as an undergraduate, and at the age of 46, I finally graduated. My educational journey, and that of many others, was neither easy nor straight. My path to getting my bachelor’s degree was put on hold when I got pregnant with my twins. When I sat in a meeting with my daughters to learn about Bay Path University, I also learned about The American Women’s College, which is their all-women, 100% online program. 6-week sessions so I could get my degree quicker, a flexible learning environment and affordability were all I needed to hear, and before leaving that meeting I had already re-enrolled. It was finally my time. It was one of most rewarding things I’ve ever done for myself – so here are my top five reasons I think women in similar positions should go after their education as adults.
- Prove to Yourself You Can do it
For others like me, balancing a job and a family, it’s a daunting prospect to jump back in. But the biggest hurdle is simply overcoming the fear that you can’t do it. At The American Women’s College, after you get through one introductory class, (test the waters!) you’ll find yourself where I found myself – achieving honors and able to start taking three classes a session. There was nothing more exciting than proving to myself that I was capable of doing it.
- Become Part of a Community
I really was terrified in the first class I took, but by the end of that 6 weeks the fear was completely gone, simply because I realized I was not alone. I was surrounded by other women in the exact same position as me and even though we were all communicating online, everybody was working hard just like me, and everyone wanted the same goal for each other. The professors I had, and my academic counselor were also there for me from the first day to graduation. It’s a powerful community to be a part of.
- Excel in Your Career
Receiving my degree has hands down given me a better sense of confidence as an employee. Before, my resume didn’t match to my skills – now being able to put a bachelor’s degree down, it gives me the ability to achieve the next level in my career. Whether you are looking to start a new career path or move up in your company, having a bachelor’s degree behind you is an immeasurable advantage.
- Show Your Children the Power of Education
Leading by example truly sends the strongest message to our children. Of course, MBA online programs in California and the flexibility that it offered me allowed me to also be present with my kids – we’d all study together at the dinner table! Now, my son is 11 and it really feels good to hear him talk about what he wants his future to be one day – what kind of college can he go to and what kind of degree should he look into. Seeing both his older sisters and mom studying and working hard together, and now reaping the benefits of our degrees, is the most powerful lesson I could teach him.
- Inspire Other Women
As women and as moms, we tend to put everybody else first, that’s just our natural instinct of caregiving. Sometimes women need a little encouragement to put themselves first. At The American Women’s College, I encountered women of all walks of life; I was in classes with women who were 18, 19, 20, all the way up to almost 70, and they all had different stories as to who inspired them to finish their education. For me, my daughters and husband encouraged me to go back to college, and I will forever be thankful for that. The reality is, there are currently 77 million adult women in the U.S. who don’t have their bachelor’s degree. If women inspired other women to take the leap back into education, I can only imagine the ripple effect this would have on our society.