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Kris Akins: A Life Changing Experience

Working as a cashier in a grocery store, Kris Akins knew enough about the business world to realize that it offered many opportunities, but a college degree would be necessary to make the most of them.

Her goal was to get a degree with a broad focus so she could use it in many different ways. She found that the Bryant & Stratton College Online’s associate degree in Business offered just the approach she was looking for: a broad-based business curriculum offered in a convenient format that would enable her to continue working while a student.

A single mom of four kids and also a full-time employee when she started the program, Kris was concerned about being able to juggle her various responsibilities, but the online format helped because she didn’t have to worry about getting a babysitter or getting to classes at a specific time.

Asked how she managed to keep herself motivated through several years of school, parenting and work responsibilities that Kris pointed out.

“I just wanted to do it and get it done. I had a goal at the end: I wanted to better myself and get a better job.”

The effort paid off for Kris in a job that calls on the business knowledge she gained in her degree program as well as on her people skills. A Program Assistant for a New York-based Head Start program, Kris gets to split her time between administrative activities and working with the children and babies. She notes that the combination is perfect because she doesn’t get bored with her “desk job” knowing she can interact with the kids, but she can also enjoy the peace and quiet of her administrative role when the babies start crying!

Kris has a realistic take on both the challenges and benefits of returning to school as a single working mom. She suggested that those in a similar situation and considering college try to line up supportive family members or friends to help out as you go through the program, because “it can be a lot of work.” But she also believes that, in terms of motivation, it’s important to think of the future, noting that “in this day and age, you have to have a degree” to compete in the job market.

Although Kris undertook quite a challenge combining work, single parenting and school, her advice for others with similar circumstances is to just “know that you can do it.” Kris has experienced firsthand the fact that it’s a tough job market for everyone, but especially hard for people without a college degree.

Her recommendation regarding going to college: “Going to Bryant & Stratton College Online gives a person the opportunity for growth and pride. You know, it’s a risk, but it’s worth it, as long as you’re willing to put in the hard time and hard work. It’s a good investment.”

Recently married, Kris has proven not only to herself but to her four children the value of believing that hard work and dedication can overcome obstacles. She is her own best example.


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