WGU Indiana is committed to the career development of Indiana’s state workforce and employees like Amy Holeman of Indianapolis, recipient of the Public Service Recognition Scholarship. Since 2014, Holeman has simultaneously been studying for a degree while working for the State of Indiana – first with the Indiana State Police and most recently as a travel coordinator for the Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT). With one semester left, financial obstacles almost prevented her from completing her degree.
The Public Service Recognition Scholarship gave Amy a chance to finish what she started and work toward completing her Bachelor of Science (B.S.) from WGU Indiana’s competency-based business management program.
Meet Amy and learn how she plans to utilize her WGU Indiana education to navigate life’s obstacles in the workplace and beyond.
How has your past career experience helped you in pursuing a degree with WGU Indiana?
Learning on the job has helped me figure out the best ways to teach myself. I know that I learn by doing. This means that I need to find ways to take what WGU shows me and apply it to something. This could be note taking or doing mock projects to apply what each module is showing me.
What are your goals after graduation and how is WGU Indiana helping you reach them?
I want a management degree so that I can best assist management and be a better manager of my own dreams. Management is about more than work. My professional goal is to become a skilled facilitator for management in any of the careers I’m passionate about, whether it’s stage theater, science or government service. If I can clear the way for management to work more effectively, I’m happy.
In my home life, I want to apply these skills while dealing with people and with my finances. Human resources and transformational management are excellent classes for learning to deal with all people, not just those at work.
What challenges have you faced during your time pursuing a higher ed degree?
I have three major obstacles. One is financial. I have never had the funds to pay out of pocket. This scholarship has been a break in the clouds. Another obstacle is time. Between working full time, spending time with family, making sure I have some quiet time, and now taking care of a sick family member, it has been very challenging to get the right amount of studying done. Thankfully, I have been good about getting the time right.
Lastly, I do have a mental disorder. I’m not ashamed of it. I have a few forms of anxiety and some OCD. I can’t stress enough that a mental disorder is not the end of education. If any student out there thinks their disorder automatically means they can’t do it, I truly hope they reconsider. With a support group, proper planning and attending to their needs in ways that work for them, a student can succeed in school.
Tell us about a mentor in your life. What role do they play in supporting your higher ed and career pathway?
I would say my mother. She just finished a master’s degree in business management not too long ago. She was really the one to convince me to go back and try a fourth time. I would advise her about her school work and help explain the books to her. She would ask why I wouldn’t give school a try again. Eventually, I listened. To this day, when I’m tired, she’ll encourage me to study or to rest depending on my need at the time. She’ll hear me out when I vent about an assignment and sit with me when I’m stressing about an upcoming test.
What advice do you have for others with similar stories looking to further their education and career?
I cannot stress enough the importance of a support group. These people do more than cheer you on. If you’re pushing too hard, they encourage you to rest. If you need that push to study, they are there for you. I’m not saying that doing this alone is impossible, but it is much harder without those people in your corner.
Also, don’t give up. Don’t sell yourself short. This is my fourth attempt. I had given up until my mother convinced me to try again. I went into it thinking I wasn’t smart enough or organized enough. This time though, life had changed me enough that I could manage it. From someone who has failed and knows plenty of fear, you can’t give up.
Just for fun, if you could be anything what would it be?
I would be an author. I’m not ruling it out either. It’s one of those uses I might have for a business degree. I want to publish fiction and to give the world a mental balm in the form of stories of hope and survival, usually in fantasy settings.