Alumni Feature: What Difference Does a Bachelor's Degree Make?By Ellie Walburg on July 12, 2018
Students pursue their bachelor's degree for a plethora of reasons:
- To take that next step toward their dream career.
- To be an example for their children to never quit on what you set out to do.
- To get that promotion that will generate a little more income.
- To take that side step into an industry you actually want to be in.
- To prove to your family and parents that you finish what you start.
There are a lot of reasons. And each one is unique.
Each student at Cornerstone University has their own story of why they chose to return to school and how their degree has made an influence in their lives.
Here, we share just a few of our students' stories of how they made a change that matters to them.
With a passion for serving others, Kaley Kiewiet (B.S. ’18) decided to dive into a program that equipped her to lead and encourage others.
"As a full-time mother and school bus driver, Cornerstone's PGS program is structured in a way that does not take away from my responsibilities—in fact—it enhances every part of my life.
"Psychology is important to me for many reasons. My long-term goal is to become a counselor. Specifically, to be a compassionate source for women in their most intimate struggles."
Practical knowledge and experience is just one of the many things Alison Harrop (B.S. ’16) has gained from her degree program. She's also grown in her confidence and ability to lead others at a non-profit organization.
"I never really expected to get a degree. So for me, it's huge. I'm proud of myself for achieving it first and foremost.
"One of the biggest things I learned at Cornerstone was that it gave me confidence to be able to stand up and do a presentation off the cuff or just to have some leadership experience in the cohort. Now I see myself as someone who can actually do what I set out to do.
"It just changed me completely—from being nervous about trying new things to now going with confidence and with a willingness to do something new.
"I never imagined that I would be running a ministry that helps people. And I never thought that I could do it. But I am doing it. And it's thanks to my degree. I don't regret it; I think it's one of the best things I ever did."
A degree in management helped Kim Carr (B.S. ’14) enhance her skills and have that proof of a degree in the job market to have the career she's passionate about.
"My initial thoughts about returning to school to pursue my degree were that of nervousness and excitement. Initially, I pursued my degree to further my possibilities at my current company.
"Going to school one night per week is very doable and also having face-to-face with both your instructor and fellow cohorts makes the experience even more enjoyable.
"Now with my degree, I feel that I am more competitive in the marketplace especially due to my age. My experience and on-the-job knowledge is excellent, but the degree gets your resume in the door to show off your other capabilities."
After journeying through her degree program and accomplishing what she set out to finish, Kacey Spencer (B.S. ’12) now encourages and empowers others to do the same.
"As a young black single mother of three children, I knew the odds were stacked against me. I did not want to be a statistic. I wanted to be able to provide a better life for my children. I knew an education would open doors for me to earn a higher income; start a career rather than just work a job; and have the flexibility to raise a family and work full-time.
"When I completed my bachelor's degree here at Cornerstone, I had such a feeling of accomplishment that I actually achieved my goal and finished something that I started. I felt like I could do anything because I was able to overcome such a big hurdle in my life. Graduating with my bachelor's degree has been one of my greatest achievements. It was the first time I have been truly proud of myself."
Greg Weaver (A.S. ’16, B.S. ’19) always knew he was a leader, and now with his degree, he has the practical experience and knowledge to lead and help others in whatever role he finds himself in.
"This new reality of possessing a degree that provides a testimony of my hard work and credibility, increases my confidence and drive to achieve. I can say with great conviction that I am a more founded and competent individual as a result of completing my degree at Cornerstone. I look forward to reaping the harvest I have sown as a result of my studies.
"I know with the tools I have been given through my studies that I can walk into work tomorrow and be a better person and make a greater impact than I could have without what I have learned. This is something that matters to me."
With a passion to fulfill the dream her mom had for her, Shenique White (B.S. ’17) returned to school to finish what she started—and encouraged her daughter along the way.
"One thing I had to do was to show my daughter that when you start something, you don't quit. And my daughter had many nights of when she was tired of having to work and go through school. And I felt that I had to show her that we're in this together. I'm not going to quit. So don't you quit.
"It was never said to me to go to college. So I never had that push or support to get me to college. But this was something that I wanted to do and it was something that my mom wanted me to do. So I didn't really realize how much of a proud moment that was for her at my graduation, but that was a pretty big success to have your granddaughter and your daughter graduate out of generations of people that didn't."
Equipped with a solid foundation of knowledge and experience, Anita Faber (A.S. ’18, B.S. ’19) is eager to grow in her career and chase her personal and professional goals.
"The entire program is practical and relevant. Students learn from every aspect. From our writing assignments to our class discussions, we are learning practical ways of working with others and being the best we can be, not just for our employers, but also our families and ourselves.
"My experience was amazing and I am thrilled to be apart of this PGS program. I never thought that I would be a college grad, and now I cannot believe I have one degree, but I'm working on my second. I think by having my degree, my chances of moving positions within my work are greater."
For Jennifer Merchant (B.S. ’13), earning a degree has equipped her for career success already and anticipation for future opportunities.
"Going to Cornerstone has given me more than just a degree. Because of my degree, I was hired for my current job position. What it also did was prepare me to fulfill my job duties.
"A big part of my role is researching/analyzing issues and solving problems. Thinking back to all the papers I wrote and all the homework assignments, each of those helped prepare me for the problem solving and critical thinking needed in my current job.
"In addition, I develop numerous PowerPoint presentations and with all the practice I received from presentations during each class at CU, I can take part in meetings with confidence. Some may think that giving presentations in college is just for getting the grade but for me, it was more than that. It is through these exercises that I gained professional experience to enhance my career path."