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Sharon DuPlayee

MS Organizational Leadership, Class of 2014

"SNHU really understands the time constraints of continuing education students."

I returned to school after a 25-year absence because the State of Maine was offering re-training funds for federal employees who were losing their jobs due to the mandated closure of Brunswick Naval Air Station. I only met with an SNHU advisor because they had a campus within walking distance of my office. At the time, I did not have any academic goals, but free tuition is very compelling. My undergraduate advisor, Ron Poulin, convinced me to start by taking one course during my lunch hour, and then to enroll in a human resources certificate program and business administration associate program, so that if I decided not to pursue a bachelor’s degree I would at least have something to show for my efforts. 

A couple years later, Ron and I would laugh over that initial conversation! Since my first class in January 2006 and long past the end of state funding, I have earned the HR certificate and associate degree, and a Bachelor of Science in Business Studies (Summa Cum Laude), a Graduate Certificate in Human Resource Management, and I will complete my Master of Science in Organizational Leadership this year. 

SNHU has enabled my academic success because: (1) I like the fast pace of the term schedules. I appreciate the course opportunities available to me because of a yearlong academic calendar and 9/10-week course schedules. (2) SNHU really understands the time constraints of continuing education students. The faculty treats us as achievers who choose to spend our limited spare time pursuing educational goals without having to forsake our career and family obligations. The understanding and flexibility of my professors enabled my academic pursuits to be the one constant during my transition to a new job and city. (3) The variety of programs offered encourages short-term wins.

If not for the undergraduate and graduate certificate programs that allow for accomplishments during the longer academic journey, it would be much easier to become distracted from the final goal. The short-term achievements of my certificate programs and associate degree kept me committed to the long-term possibilities of the bachelor's and master's degrees. I could not be a success story without the support of family, friends, and various supervisors over the years. They have all assisted (when appropriate) with course projects, commiserated with me when I felt overwhelmed, understood when I had to make schoolwork a priority, and congratulated me on my accomplishments. Despite all of the above, the reality is that I have continued my education over these past eight years as an example to my son. I want him to know that there are no age limitations on achieving a higher education because a mandatory graduation date does not exist.