Tuesday, Apr 23, 2013
It took years, but Sarah Barber finally knows how she’d like to earn a living.
Barber recently earned an associate degree in graphic design as an online student. Little did she know that her longtime hobby was actually going to steer her toward a career.
“I have always been an artist,” Barber said. “I’ve been scrapbooking for about 10 years - digitally for five. It was like, one day a light bulb went off. I suddenly knew what I wanted to do.”
Barber’s ultimate goal is to bring home a paycheck “to support her family" by doing layout and design. With two more years to go, Barber says she has been “excited, scared, and humbled.”
Attending school in the cyber environment was challenging, but Barber never let anything darken her resolution. She worked hard, participated in online student forums, and kept her eye on that graduation prize. The entire process made a real impact on this 30-year-old mother of one.
“It changed me,” she said. “I never thought it could happen. It has confirmed my faith that education is the key to becoming successful in my field. I’ve never been more proud.”
Cyber-space proved to be both flexible and compelling. Barber noted that on one hand, you can log in when you feel like it and time permits. On the other hand, there are deadlines to meet, just like in the physical classroom. There are truly advantages to both class delivery methods.
“Online classes take willpower and determination,” Barber said.
“You are comfortable at home and yet you really have to focus on the end goal. Before my daughter started school I had to lock myself in a room or stay up late.”
If things got really tough, Barber had the freedom to head to her local library.
“It was a better study environment,” she said. “It forced me to focus.”
Barber said the online one-on-one contact with teachers and the interaction with classmates helped nurture her success.
“Feedback from the instructor was usually attached to weekly homework,” she said.
“And all the instructors were very helpful; they really made an attempt to connect with each student. And, we were encouraged to share our work. It helped with fine-tuning something and provided positive reinforcement. I learned to listen with an open mind to my fellow students’ ideas.”
All in all, Barber is delighted with her progress and looks forward to finishing with her bachelor’s degree from Herzing University.
“I’m so happy I figured it out,” she said. “It has given me focus in my wandering life.”