Carlene Gray

BA Creative Writing & English, Class of 2016

"Thanks to Amy and Nathan, my two awesome advisors!"

Two years ago, I'd given up the search for an online university. After several months of research, I couldn't find one that was even close to affordable. At forty-two years old, with four grown children, I'd thought that perhaps it could be my time to return to college to complete the degree I'd started following high school. But I just couldn't reconcile the costs. I put all my notes away and focused on daily life again.

About a month passed, when one day my phone rang while I was at work. I was surprised to be greeted by an SNHU admission counselor. He mentioned that he'd received the email about my interest in attending SNHU. I told him I hadn't sent an email, that I'd stopped looking a while ago. He paused a moment, and then told me that my husband had sent him the message. It is impossible to fully express how stunned I was that day. Suffice it to say my life changed dramatically within the space of about seven minutes.

I had no idea my husband, Matt, had continued gathering information even after I quit, but I am beyond grateful he did. You see, online education is my only option. I have physical disabilities, which now prevent me from attending a traditional brick-and-mortar university. I cannot sit at a desk. I work in bed, mostly. And I need to be free to start and stop as pain and fatigue dictate. Additionally, I've already undergone three surgeries since enrolling at SNHU, and I've worked through all three of them. If I'd been enrolled at a traditional university, I'd have had to take an extended leave to facilitate recovery.

Best of all, as a direct result of my efforts here at SNHU, my very first short story – written for an SNHU writing course – has been accepted for publication by Ambannon Books. Although I've been writing for nearly my entire life, I've never had the confidence to submit any work for publication . . . until now. I truly never pictured myself here, more than halfway to my bachelor's degree and looking ahead to a master's. I didn't think it was possible for me. Thanks to my incredible husband and so many great staff members at SNHU (Amy and Nathan, my two awesome advisors!), it is my reality.