Cheryl Irvin

BS Business Admin, Class of 2016

"I will be overjoyed to have my SNHU diploma!"

When I graduated from high school, many years ago, my parents were not able to help financially with school. Although I got into my first choice of colleges (Northeastern University), I was terrified to take on the loan debt associated with four years of college. So, I opted for a well-respected secretarial school and thought if I landed in a good company I could perhaps take advantage of their tuition reimbursement program. But as happens in life, not every plan works out the way that you plan. After finishing school, I moved out on my own at the age of 19 and going back to school just seemed to be one of those things that I said, "I've got plenty of time for that ..." I got married at 23 and four years later had a set of beautiful fraternal twins. My children were born prematurely (as is common with twins) and weighed just four pounds each. They spent time at the NICU (Neonatal Intensive Care Unit) at a Boston hospital and then some more time in a local step-down NICU unit. The idea of going back to work with such fragile twins seemed unimaginable, and so I became a stay-at-home mom until my children started first grade. When they started first grade, I got a job in the elementary school they attended, which gave me the mother's hours I needed with snow days, school vacations and summers off. I stayed at that elementary school for three years until we sold our house and moved — at that point, I got a job in the high school of the town we moved to and worked there for 10 years as a bookkeeper. Every decision I made from the moment I found out I was pregnant had been about my children. But then, suddenly (or so it seemed), my children were grown, and I was still (relatively) young, and so I began to think about what I wanted for myself and where I saw myself professionally. Something I had not done for a very long time. And through that process, I tried to define where I saw myself in my career, and I also realized something that I had put away and not thought about — and that was my desire to get my degree. In a very tough job market, I was trying to find my place professionally and not having very much success. The years I had spent working in schools had definitely had an impact on my professional resume.

But one Sunday morning my husband saw an advertisement for Southern New Hampshire University in the newspaper and thought the position sounded perfect for me. I applied and was vigilant about making my name stand out, and I was ultimately successful in achieving the goal of getting the job. Hard as it is to believe, I did not know that going back to school (while employed with the university) was an option for me. When I found out - I was elated! Finally, I had achieved a level of professional accomplishment, and I could go back to school? I gave myself a year to really learn all aspects of my new position and then began taking classes.

So far, I have completed eight classes, and I am already enrolled for the next two upcoming terms. I have maintained an A in every class I have taken here at SNHU, and I have loved all of them. I feel so blessed and lucky to be working for an organization that fulfills me, professionally, while also having the ability to work toward my personal goal of getting my long delayed bachelor's degree. I am proud to be an employee of SNHU, and I will be overjoyed to have my SNHU diploma!