When Darlene Praseuth was younger, she was never the biggest fan of the doctor’s office. But after her experiences with a specialist – and a degree – she’s looking to erase the stress and negative thoughts associated with trips to see a physician.
Praseuth plans to help others in the future, but it doesn’t mean she isn’t serving those who need care now. She’s currently in the U.S. Air Force Reserves, and in honor of Military Appreciation Month, we’re taking a closer look at her story – one that is rooted in a positive experience from her dermatologist.
“You know growing up how kids don’t like going to the doctor – especially me, I hated it,” Praseuth said. “I had really bad acne growing up, so my mom took me to the dermatologist. I was just like, ‘wow this is such a great environment, I love it.’ It was so positive, they helped me with my skin – it was just a different environment from a normal doctor.”
Fast forward to today, Praseuth is earning Perimeter College’s associate’s degree in health science. After completing the two-year program, she will look to join the bachelor’s program in biomedical science, a degree that will propel her towards medical school. She said her start at the two-year Perimeter College helped ease her back into school – as well as afford a degree.
“I feel like it's been very helpful to the community because it is way more affordable and it’s also smaller than the Atlanta campus,” Praseuth said. “It can be very helpful because it can be difficult starting off at a huge university. It’s easier to talk to people because it’s smaller. It’s easier to navigate your way through – you’re just more comfortable speaking with students and your professors.”
Praseuth, who is stationed at the Dobbins Air Reserve Base in Marietta, initially struggled getting back into the swing of the classroom. Fortunately, her instructors were able to give her some tips on how to succeed in her classes, she said.
“It’s been difficult to change over because the last time I actually went to school was in high school,” Praseuth said. “The transition over was kind of difficult because it was way more fast-paced, but I caught on pretty quickly. I emailed my professors pretty much every day when I first started.”
She took her professors’ advice, worked hard and figured out her best way of learning. She found that a full course load was not compatible with her work and military schedules, but she enjoyed accelerated classes and Maymesters. One learning experience that stuck out was a two-week study abroad program.
“It was economics in Romania,“ she said. “It was a combination of doing lectures online and while we were there in the country we did a socratic seminar, a debate. It was really interesting for me because I am online.
“It was great hanging out with professors and students, getting to know them outside of school.”
When Praseuth had to travel for military work, professors were flexible and helped her complete coursework while fulfilling her service requirements.
While Praseuth still has a few years and degrees until she becomes a dermatologist, she’s balancing her job, her military service and her coursework. In her busy world where time is valuable, she’s thankful for a program that she can get things done at a time that works best for her.
“I’ve been taking asynchronous classes, so I don’t have to do Zoom calls or anything at a certain time,” she said. “Everything is done pretty much on my own time.”
Are you a military member interested in online learning while you are serving the country? Or are you a student looking for an online 2-year degree? Learn more about Georgia State Online and Perimeter College’s online options by talking to enrollment coaches Moisés and LaToya by phone at 404-413-4393, or email them at [email protected].