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Online Degrees

Part of Western Governors University

June 1, 2020

Student Success

From failure to chief banking officer with WGU.

Failing. That’s how Josh Pape finished his first semester of college right after high school.

“I don’t feel like I was quite prepared to take school seriously and do what I needed to do,” he admitted. 

When Josh didn’t pass his classes in his first semester, he decided to drop out and pursue something different instead. That led him to the Air Force. He was just 18 years old, and started serving as an aerospace ground equipment technician. He worked for the Air Force for several years, and when he was finished with the military, he wasn’t sure where to take his career.

“I’d always been interested in economics and the world of finance and the world of business,” he said. “Growing up with limited resources further fueled that drive for me.”

He found a job at a large bank in his hometown, and started to work his way up the ladder there. Josh was passionate about finance and business and thoroughly enjoyed the work he was doing, which was exciting for him. But it wasn’t quite enough.

“I had made it pretty far in my career without a degree,” he admitted. “But I hadn’t gotten where I ultimately wanted to be. I went back to school to change that story.” 

Josh was nervous about the idea of going back to school. His failure of his first semester of college loomed over him, and he wasn’t sure it would be something he could finish. He’d already dropped out once before and didn’t want that to happen again. 

But Josh didn’t let failure get the best of him. He decided he could do it, and started researching higher education options. He found that WGU was the most legitimate online program that could help him learn important skills and gain valuable credentials. It also gave him a path to completing a degree that fit with his life and needs. Without the flexibility of an entirely online program and the opportunity to move through courses at his own pace, he wouldn’t have been able to finish college. 

Josh earned his Bachelor of Science in Business Management, and finishing that degree changed his life and perspective. 

“Finishing my degree is probably one of the biggest foundations that gives me confidence to go finish something or go do something that I thought, for many years, wasn’t ever going to happen,” he said.

Josh is now the chief banking officer for Citizens Bank of Edmond, managing the bank’s core lines of business that face customers, including retail, consumer banking, and mortgage lending. He is excited and passionate about his work and has confidence to always tackle new things thanks to WGU.

“Coming back around to education and completing something that I started was important,” he said. 

Josh doesn’t let fear of failure stop him anymore. He knows that he can do difficult things, that he has the ability to take on anything that comes his way. And WGU helps thousands of students just like Josh every day. 

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