Kimberly Mitchell

Thomas Edison State University
Thomas Edison State College

My journey began in 1987 when I first started college at Temple University. I was a mediocre student but always felt drawn to the field of communications. As an Advertising major, I enjoyed being creative. However, the other classes were not very interesting to me. I fell short in attaining the minimum requirements to maintain a required grade point average. I was informed that I couldn’t enroll in any more classes. I was devastated.

Fast forward to 1995, I decided that I would go back to school to redo those core classes that I fell short in achieving a minimum grade of C or higher. I enrolled in Community College of Philadelphia. My focus was that I would obtain nothing less than an A in those classes. After taking 6 classes, I was successful in achieving A’s in all of them. This was truly motivating and I aspired to continue with my goals. However, life set me in on a different path. My husband and I had our first child in 1996. A year and a half after I started back at school. I continued with classes until I was no longer able to maintain the rigorous schedule of working full time and going to school. Due to pregnancy restrictions, I was placed on bed rest prior to my delivery. That put finishing my degree on hold for 5 more years.

The next step toward finishing my degree was in 2001. After our second child was born, I felt the desire to finally finish that degree that I started in 1987. I enrolled an accelerated degree program at The University of Phoenix. Having two children, working full time, and a husband that travelled every other week made it difficult to continue with the program. I received an A in the first class that I taken but had to withdraw. Once again, I was disappointed that I could not continue with my goal.

After reaching a low point in my self esteem and career goals in 2012, I decided that 2013 would be the year for a new improved version of me. I was in a position that I did not enjoy and felt as though I had reached a glass ceiling. I was not able to move forward without acquiring my degree. On our internal website at my employer Independence Blue Cross, I read a notice regarding a program that was offered to all associates. Graduate Philadelphia was a program that helped adults to finish their degrees. This was a sign. After discussing my goals with my family, I made an appointment to speak with a counselor to get started. Since I had earned at least 80-90 course credits in my past college experiences, I was a closer to completing my degree than I had realized. My counselor help me to find the right match for my needs and assisted in getting me started in the right program.

I’m currently in my fourth semester at Thomas Edison State Univserity. It is an online program that I can access on my own time. It is flexible and allows me to schedule time to focus on my studies. Online courses are not for everyone. In order to meet my goals of being an A student and keep up with the course requirements, I had to learn to discipline myself with a set schedule for studies. The first semester was very overwhelming but once I got started in my routine, it became much easier. Without a routine, it would be difficult to keep up with assignments. Reading the syllabus and due date calendar is very important ensure that assignments are submitted on time. My counselor has checked in with me every few months to see how things are going and to ensure that I’m still on track with my goals. He has offered assistance in helping me with different seminars that are available through Graduate Philadelphia. This experience has been truly rewarding.

In 2014, I will have 12 credits left to finish my degree. I’m very excited about obtaining a Bachelor of Arts in Communications. I’ve worked for over 20 years to get to here and I’m looking forward to celebrating my success with my family and friends. Without the support of my husband and children, I would not have been able to achieve my goals. I am truly thankful for the Graduate Philadelphia program for helping me get there. This experience has made me understand that even though we are presented with challenges in our daily lives, our goals and dreams are attainable. We just have to be sure to persevere and keep our focus on that goal.