"The idea I am part of a family – I am not a student – that everyone cares about the students and their goals."
For Annie Klupshas, earning her bachelor's degree was a bit like "running up a hill for a very long time - and trying to visualize the top and finally getting there - and realizing how high I ran."
That run may have taken five-and-a-half years to finish but she said, "It feels more than worth it. I'd do it all over again." Klupshas puts completing her degree program right up there alongside meeting her husband and having their first child - one of the most special moments in her life.
As the first person in her family to earn a college degree, Klupshas wanted her son to be proud of her and to understand that education is a privilege, and to see that her efforts truly paid off.
"This is something I worked really hard for," she said. "And I didn't realize how good I was going to feel when I got that degree."
While she wasn't quite ready for college when she finished high school, once Klupshas decided to return to school she reached out to many colleges to see what her next step might be. She said her first calls to 3-4 schools went straight to voicemail and she never received a call back. When she called Southern New Hampshire University, she said, "I spoke with a live person the first time I called. I wasn't rushed and she answered my questions. She asked what else she could do for me."
That conversation led to her to choose SNHU. "That first interaction solidified my decision," Klupshas said.
That same personalized focus was evident throughout her degree program. "Every [academic] advisor took a personal interest in my accomplishments, the classes I selected," she said. "Each one of them has taught me different things and just showed me that this is what an advisor is supposed to be. They're supposed to be checking up on you, and following you and making sure you're comfortable. 'Do you need help?' That's what they're supposed to be doing."
That support helped Klupshas complete her bachelor's in sociology and made her feel like an integral part of the SNHU community. "The idea I am part of a family - I am not a student - that everyone cares about the students and their goals."
Klupshas is now managing a private medical office in a role she truly enjoys. "I love my co-workers and the providers we work with, and most of all, I love the patients and their families," she said. One thing I have learned from my educational career with SNHU is that good things come to those who wait."
Klupshas said, "I am a non-traditional student in that I tried college after high school and soon 'grown-up' responsibilities became my priority. I waited until I was married and had a newborn at home to really begin my education. I tried two other universities before comfortably landing in SNHU territory and am glad I had the patience after my first attempt at a college degree, after making that decision to go for it when my life was already crazy enough, and finally after having bad experiences at the other two universities, to say, 'I can do this.'"