By Stephanie Marchetti
In more than a decade working in higher education, I’ve always told my students that an education is one of the few things in life no one can ever take away from you. Earning a degree, no matter the level, has the power to instantly change your life. Your degree will not just offer you career opportunities, but also a sense of pride and empowerment that few other things in life can grant. Your degree does not just show that you have mastered a field, but it also expresses the power of your determination, the strength of your time management skills, and the proof that you can do hard things. Going to school is hard, but it also proves that you can do hard things. Further, your degree allows you to provide a sense of support and security not just for yourself but for your family as well.
Upon graduating high school, I was not particularly interested in going to college because I had not ever really enjoyed school. I did so anyway, mostly for the opportunity to move away, and immediately found a home that could offer a very different life for me. I earned my bachelor’s, then immediately after my master’s, and stayed at that institution working in admissions for several years. Education was such a home for me that I made it my career so I could help show others the home it could provide for them. The ownership we can take over our education has the power not just to provide a career, but also to develop us in ways we didn’t know possible — it builds character, resilience, and confidence.
After working in various roles for ten years, from admissions to advising to academic support, I decided to enroll at Maryville for my doctorate. It was time to build a new home, one focused on leadership and change. I was scared, intimidated, and frankly not quite sure I was up to the challenge; the imposter syndrome I’ve talked my students through for years crept up on me. Maryville has been so welcoming, so fostering of my belonging, and such a positive challenge. Even with a career in education, I wasn’t sure that online education was for me — but it is at Maryville. The academic coaches, professors, advisors, and especially my classmates remove so many doubts I had about myself. It doesn’t matter that we are in different states and different time zones because we all have the same goal and are working under the same roof. I can’t wait to see the opportunities that it opens up for me!
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