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By University of Phoenix
As a soon-to-be single mother, Angela Douglas knew during her pregnancy that she needed to provide stability to her unborn daughter by continuing her education.
While she had earned an associate degree in business administration in 2016, she didn't enjoy school and said she would never return. However, she began to feel left out in conversation about school with her older sister, Andrea, and her younger sister, Adrianna.
Andrea graduated from University of Phoenix in 2018 with an MBA and began working in a government position in the accounting field. The sisters kept in touch through a group text, where Andrea often talked about her program and homework.
Over time, Andrea influenced her middle sister's decision to return to school. One month before her daughter, Alani, was born in August 2019, Angela started working on her Bachelor of Science in Business at the University. Eventually, all three sisters would enroll at UOPX, supporting each other as they worked to achieve their educational dreams.
Unknown to her sisters, the group texts prompted Angela to look into UOPX. When she finally told her sisters she was enrolling, she said their support and enthusiasm was encouraging.
"They were so happy for my daughter and for me," said Angela, who was working full time with an investment company when she enrolled. "UOPX’s path made me want to do this even more.”
Angela recalled how the efficiency of UOPX’s courses gave her the flexibility to complete homework even from her phone during the first 10 hours of her 30 hours of labor with her daughter.
However, not all has gone smoothly during her educational journey. Angela did not succeed in her first attempt to pass her real estate test (she plans to try again soon), and she and her sisters struggled with their parents’ divorce.
Then, in August 2020, Angela was in a domestic violence situation that had been brewing over time with her daughter’s father. Suddenly, she had to take a five-week emergency leave from UOPX, move to a new town and change her job — all with her and her daughter’s safety in mind.
"What I was going through made me want to finish school even more. Initially, I didn’t want to, though," she said. "I was a little embarrassed. I wanted to graduate. ‘Why can’t I now?’ I thought. I was losing everything: moving, job, school."
It took a while for her to pick up the phone to call her academic advisor at UOPX. She even failed a course before the domestic violence situation. When Angela finally decided to make the call, she found an academic advisor who was able to coach her and follow up with her through it all.
"I would have failed and been so stressed out with my studies. UOPX’s options saved me," she said. "A lot of people struggle to do everything at once. We can, but not all at once. I wanted to do this all for my daughter, but I couldn’t within four months to graduate in December 2020, not January 2021. Luckily I got out of my situation. It cost me just some time."
Angela acknowledges the unrealistic expectations she had set. She also shared how her family helped her during this time. She encourages those in similar situations not to feel embarrassed.
"I never thought about getting a bachelor's, and I never thought about a master's. UOPX is so understanding and great; I’m even considering getting my master’s," Angela said.
Angela’s sisters are encouraging her to continue and are even turning it into a competition: Will Angela or Adrianna get her master’s first?
Through it all, the sisters have been each other’s support system by encouraging each other to stay motivated and true to themselves because, as Andrea said, "Who else will you have if you aren’t true to yourself?" She also reminds her sisters that if you fail or are told no, it just provides you with new opportunities.
As the first of the sisters to attend the University, Andrea said she appreciated UOPX's mobility in helping her continue her education. She added that her mom wanted to see all of her girls graduate; another older sister has also graduated from college.
“UOPX welcomed me with open arms,” Andrea said. She found UOPX, with its staff, faculty and advisors, to always be there for her. She knew that UOPX would do the same for her sisters.
Adrianna, currently working as a collections representative, expects to graduate with a business degree in 2022. She chose UOPX after attending an in-person university and struggling to juggle school and working full time. She also wanted a mobile education experience so she could travel and relocate as needed.
Andrea is also quick to say, "I’m proud of Angela. Her journey is unbelievable. As an older sister, I look up to her."
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