It might have taken a decade and a half, but the degree was worth it.
September is Self-Improvement Month, and Georgia State’s Perimeter College online student Emily Chait’s story shows the impact that an associate degree can have on one’s life.
When Chait graduated high school, she looked into attending Georgia State University, but her low GPA didn’t qualify for the HOPE scholarship. Unable to afford the cost of school, she decided to join the workforce.
She landed a job with an animal shelter -- one she held for 15 years – while also running a vintage home goods and jewelry business on the side. After a while, she said started to feel “stagnant” in the position with the shelter and began her search for a new opportunity, but she ran into some bumps in the road.
“I found that with no college experience I was not getting very far in my job hunt,” she said. “My tipping point was being denied a position that I knew I was extremely qualified for, but they required a bachelor's degree to even be considered. After that, I decided no time was better than the present to go back to school.”
Chait enrolled in Georgia State Online’s associate degree pathway program in Business Administration at Perimeter College. The program, with typical pathways requiring 60 semester hours, is available completely online.
She said taking all of her classes online works well for her schedule, a busy one that includes a full-time job. She noted taking some time off to work before her degree has helped her become a more motivated student.
“I’ve really enjoyed all the classes I’ve taken,” she said. “I think going back to school at an older age with a more focused mindset has led me to appreciate my classes more. After doing the same thing for so long, I get a lot of enjoyment out of learning new things.”
She found more enjoyment in another opportunity from Georgia State Online. After a geology course she needed to take was full, she enrolled in an honors option geology class. Although science wasn’t her strongest suit, she signed up.
“I was very happy I took the risk when it was announced that the honors class would be going on a research trip to Sapelo Island, Georgia,” she said. “It was an amazing experience that I won’t soon forget.”
Another class had a special impact on Chait. She enrolled in a Survey of U.S. History course where she experienced the caring and hard-working faculty of online classes.
“It was the first online class that I took that I felt was really fulfilling and made me feel like I was not in it by myself,” she said. “His teaching style meshed well with my learning style and the evident passion he showed for his work was inspiring.”
Her choice to go back to school paid off before she received her degree. Chait recently started a new position as an Accounts Payable specialist, a job she was able to land with help from what she’s learned in class.
“I didn't really have any previous accounting experience, but the fact that I was currently in school for business administration and that included Excel training and accounting classes was in my favor,” she said. “If not for taking the leap to go back to school, I probably would not have gotten this position.”
“It is such a great feeling knowing that my hard work is paying off professionally and personally.”