You just finished your shift at work – got home, got the kids fed and put to bed – and although you would really like to turn the T.V. on to catch up on your favorite show, there’s a pile of homework assignments waiting for you and a good hour of studying in preparation for a test in class tomorrow.
In the midst of trying to fit school into your busy life, it can be easy to lose sight of why you should work so hard towards completing your degree. However, studies overwhelmingly show that pursuing and achieving a post-secondary education is becoming more and more vital to job opportunity and personal growth. Not only do graduates at all levels of post-secondary education find that their degree opens up the doors to employment and greater wage earnings, they also find that it enables them to get a job in a career they enjoy. In fact, studies have shown that college graduates live happier and more fulfilled lives than those who don’t earn their degree1.
A new study by Georgetown University’s Center on Education and the Workforce (CEW) shows that by 2018, the American workforce will need 22 million post-secondary graduates2. Even jobs that used to only require a high school education are increasingly requiring some post-secondary degree. Many of the students who come to American National University have learned this through personal experience. “You have to have a trade – a skill – to be able to make it in today’s society,” stated business administration student Robyne Ramsey, who will graduate from the ANU Princeton Campus this September.
As a mother of three, Robyne understands how hard it can be to obtain your degree while caring for a family and working a job. She started in 2009 and had to put her education on hold due to family complications, but returned to American National University in 2014 to finish her degree. “It means more to me,” she said, “that I was able to accomplish this goal – which has been a long term goal.” Beyond the personal achievement, Robyne shared that it is significant for her kids as well – inspiring them to say: “Wow, Mom graduated – went to school. I’m going to do the same.” For Robyne, pursuing her degree had an immediate effect. Prior to graduation Robyn has already been hired as a sales assistant at her externship site at WVVA, a local television station in Bluefield, WV.
[img]Getting a degree doesn’t just increase the chances of getting a job, but college graduates typically find that they have greater job satisfaction throughout their career. “You have to like what you’re going to do if you’re going to do it for a lifetime,” stated Nakia Cantrell, a nursing graduate from the Pikeville, KY Campus. Although she had a bachelor’s degree in health promotion, Nakia said she spent a year working as a teacher and decided that it just wasn’t the job that she wanted as a career. She came to ANU for a nursing degree and has since fallen in love with her work. “Throughout school, exams are hard and it’s a lot of work,” Nakia admitted readily. What keeps her motivated? “Then you go and take care of one patient, and forget all about the struggles,” she said with a huge smile. “It’s very rewarding.”
For both Robyne and Nakia, the ultimate reward in achieving their degrees was the opportunity for personal growth and future success. “More than anything,” stated Robyne about the value of an education, “it makes you a better person.”
“[Education is] one of the most valuable things you can get,” agreed Nakia emphatically, “once you get it, it can’t be taken away from you.”
Right now both Robyne and Nakia are taking advantage of working in their field and gaining experience, but achieving their associate’s degree was a way of starting a career they enjoy and opening up the door to future degrees and opportunities. “I’ve always wanted to start my own business as well,” said Robyne, “Eventually I would like to pursue and get my bachelor’s [business] degree.” Nakia looks forward to becoming a nurse practitioner or nurse anesthetist. “I would recommend anyone to come [to ANU],” said Robyne, “It’s hard… [but] it will make a difference.”