Looking for some inspiration? Spend some time meeting a few of our amazing students. They have overcome obstacles, rolled up their sleeves and walked successfully through their education to move forward on the path God has laid out for them.
Never Too Late
Julie zoomed into the work force after high school but always had it in the back of her mind to go to college someday. Although timing and circumstances never seemed right, Julie admits that it was also fear that held her from pursuing her dreams.
After looking casually into Northwestern’s adult undergraduate program several times, when Julie met Admission Counselor Barb Lamfers, things came into focus. “Barb really communicated with me and all of a sudden I thought, ‘I can do this!’” Julie said.
Julie was also motivated by the fact that her oldest son had started college and thought it would be a fun journey to take together.
Fears of being too busy to be a good student were overcome with God’s help and sheer determination. “I’m going to make this work; I’m going to make it fit,” Julie told herself. She knew she could do more…watch less TV...prioritize the important things. “I can make this fit into my life,” was the decision that helped her turn the corner.
Starting with only two college credits, Julie has pressed steadily toward her first goal of earning her associate’s degree and will graduate in December. She’s even surprised herself with her academic success.
“I didn’t pull good grades in high school,” Julie confessed. “Now I’m pulling As and Bs. The will to do it makes a difference.”
So glad she did it
Julie is enthusiastic to be reaching personal closure on a long-term goal and looks forward to what’s ahead. After her associate’s degree she plans to continue to earn her bachelor’s degree in psychology. “I like where this might take me,” Julie said.
A self-proclaimed people-person and “maximizer,” Julie loves to encourage others to look into Northwestern for their education. “They would love the teachers, the people, the programs, the challenges.
“I would say don’t let any one thing become the fear or the block that stops you from doing this. Just do it. You won’t regret it.”
Kevin had a successful military career and a specialized set of skills that provided steady employment. But his job was very physical and company policy stated management jobs were for college grads only; he found that his life experience and “delightful charm” weren’t getting him very far.
After surviving a near-death drowning in Hawaii, marrying a Northwestern summa cum laude, and desperately trying to move up in his company, God caught Kevin’s attention; he knew it was time to pursue bigger dreams and go back to college.
New schedule, new knowledge
Kevin had tried online classes before Northwestern, but his wife encouraged him to take a course on campus. “Now that I’ve experienced that, I wouldn’t do it any other way. It’s just amazing the support and encouragement that you get from that group.” Kevin attends class one night a week at Northwestern and will soon receive his degree.
It’s challenging to squeeze three to four hours of homework in after a full day at work, but Kevin’s family is supportive of his decision to go back to school. “Everybody needs to recognize that this is an investment in the family and that good things are going to come from having a college degree.”
Prior to beginning the adult undergraduate program, Kevin didn’t think he could learn anything that he didn’t already know from various life experiences. Now he admits that assumption was completely wrong. “To my surprise,” he says, “It is incredible how much I’ve learned. So much of college you can’t shortcut. You have to go through the process. You have to write the papers to become a better writer. You have to learn how to study. You have to learn to think. You have to be challenged.”
Conquering the stalemate
Kevin took some of the business management tools he learned in his classes to an interview at his part-time job and the upper-management team acknowledged that although he did not yet have his degree, they were confident in his future. With a sigh of gratitude Kevin shared, “They decided to bring me on right now so that I would be a full-time employee”—and ready for management when he has his degree in hand.
As a devoted wife and mother with a good job at a small company, Shari had never given pursuing higher education much thought. But God laid a new plan on her heart and she felt prompted to enroll in the adult undergraduate program.
“One day I was sitting in my office thinking that if anything happened to this job, I would probably need a degree if anyone else was going to employ me for a similar position,” she remembered.
Enter the unexpected
Shari enrolled in the Business Management program and a short time later, when she was laid off from her job, she was grateful she had followed her prompting to go back to school. She was able to land a full-time position at a company that placed a “huge emphasis” on higher education, and even provided company-paid tuition assistance. “It was a blessing that I was already enrolled in a program,” she said.
For Shari, the support she received at work and from her husband, son and friends were key ingredients to her success and passion for her education.
Shari loved that Northwestern integrates faith in education. “Attending Northwestern strengthened my walk with God,” she said. “It really starts there and takes off.”
Through her studies, she was able to take electives that were biblically based and learned to look at her subjects with a biblical point of view. “Going to a Christian college—” she recalled, “where we looked at everything through a faith lens, where prayer was a part of the program, where fellow students and instructors were also Christians—was an unbelievable blessing.”
Bringing her faith to the workplace
The faith elements and tightly-knit community of students gave Shari confidence on a new level. “Attending Northwestern impacted my life in many ways,” she remarked, “from strengthening my faith to giving me the confidence both personally and professionally to be all I can be for God.”
God has given her a passion for sharing her faith in the workplace and she serves on the leadership team of the Christian Employee Resource Group, which introduces faith speakers, prayer, and Bible studies in the workplace. Committed to helping others in their faith/work journey, Shari recently wrote a book, Walking in Faith: Stories of Hope and Encouragement for the Workplace.