The hardest step in any journey is usually the first one. Annette Stratton (Administrative Assistant for Glasgow Chancellor Dr. Sally Ray) felt this way when she made the big decision to go back to school as an adult. As the wife of a pastor, Annette had sometimes felt a little awkward about joining in discussions with her husband and his colleagues because she lacked a college degree. “I decided, I’m just as good as the next person. I can do more, but I’ve got to make it happen!”
When Annette first joined the staff as a Campus Operator here at WKU, she immediately decided to take advantage of the Staff Tuition Waiver benefit and enrolled in her first class. Although she was nervous and thought she might be conspicuous because she was older than many of her classmates, she put on a brave face when she entered the classroom for the first time. Her CIS instructor put her at ease right away, and her confidence improved with every class that she successfully completed.
Annette later discovered that WKU On Demand’s self-paced classes fit very well into her busy schedule. “I can take my classroom with me when I go to visit my daughter, and the flexible deadlines are a big advantage.” Annette is pleased to see that more 300 level On Demand courses have become available in different subject areas. She doesn’t let new technology intimidate her; she coaches herself to take things one day at a time. Developing relationships and staying in regular communication with her online instructors through email is an important strategy for her success. She also feels that pursuing her education has allowed her to sharpen her skills in many areas of her life.
“Staying on-track in (On Demand’s) self-paced classes requires a level of discipline; developing that self-discipline is part of improving an individual’s ability to learn. I’ve learned a LOT more than just the subject that I am studying.”
As her confidence grew, Annette felt she had more to offer and soon more doors were opening in her life. She has some advice for others who are considering returning to school to earn their degrees as a post-traditional students. “Getting an education can ignite the spark of learning in you for so many other areas of your life. Don’t get overwhelmed; keep the whole picture in mind and take it a little bit at a time. It’s going to come out OK.”