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Chantel is your typical WGU student—and by typical we, of course, mean extraordinary.
She is a wife and a mother of three, and she works full time as a dedicated nursing professional. For busy adults with families and plenty of grown-up responsibilities, even the thought of going back to school full time seems crazy and impossible—but the remarkable Night Owls who make up WGU’s student body prove otherwise.
Chantel’s story shows that, while her familial status and hectic life—like those of so many other of WGU’s nontraditional students and graduates—can seem overwhelming, committing oneself to completing an online degree program while plenty of other obligations hang in the balance is completely doable (even if it is truly an amazing feat).
Chantel lives in Jersey City, New Jersey, and commutes to work as a school nurse for the New York City Department of Education. She’s been out of school herself for almost nine years, having last earned her associate’s degree in Nursing. But Chantel says her desire to continue her education and “provide more thorough care to patients through effective leadership” was only heightened by her goal to set an example for her children “to never give up on their education.” She had never taken an online course before, and the thought of attending an all-online school to advance her degree was daunting.
“I was definitely nervous about how successful I would be with learning on this new platform,” she said.
Last year, Chantel received an email inviting her to apply for WGU’s Nurses Lead the Way scholarship, a scholarship (known this year as the WGU Loves Nurses Scholarship) offered to new students looking to earn their bachelor’s or master’s degree in nursing.
“I was so excited. Not only would I get the chance to offset some of the cost of returning to school if I was awarded this scholarship, but it also gave me and my family a chance to get a feel for the dedication it would take to be successful with this program,” she said.
And “get a feel” they did. As she spent hours thinking about potential responses to the essay prompts (application for the scholarship required submitting an essay about the nurse’s motivation for earning a degree), “my husband and three kids began to become accustomed to giving Mommy time to study,” she recalled. And when she found out she was one of the more than 50 scholarship awardees, Chantel says it was the first of many successes.
“We had all won! It was a great confidence builder for us. We got to enjoy the fruits of our perseverance with the award.”
“For me, more personally, it was the first step up the mountain toward my MSN–Leadership and Management degree, and I felt like I had great footing by winning the award. The fact that the scholarship eased some of the financial burden means that I won’t have as much debt when I graduate,” Chantel said. “This is especially important as a mother of three who will be off to college themselves before I know it!”
In the year since she received the scholarship, Chantel already feels like a success story. She’s been able to take what she’s learned within her coursework and apply it on the job. “I see my nursing practice evolving through a broadened knowledgebase,” she said excitedly. “One course at a time.”
Good news! For this year’s WGU Loves Nurses scholarship, the deadline has been extended until June 30, 2015. Learn more about the WGU Loves Nurses scholarship »
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