One Adult Student’s Story: Sharpening Skills

Becky Morehouse

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Every Adult Student Has a Story

This story is based on a real student.

No adult student follows the same path, yet, there are patterns: how adult students choose education, how they parse their options, what matters, and what will keep them engaged enough to finish the next chapter.

Shawn landed her first marketing job after graduating from a private liberal arts college with a degree in communication studies. She loved her job. After five years, she felt she was ready to move up into a senior position within her company.

Then, Shawn discovered she was pregnant. She told friends attending a dinner party at her house that she would continue to work after the baby was born. Both she and her husband were looking into various childcare options after Shawn’s six-week maternity leave was over.

After Shawn and her husband welcomed baby Ava into their lives, however, they felt one of them should stay home with her. After much back and forth, after endless agonizing over what made the most economic sense and how it would impact the stay-at-home person’s future career, they made the decision that Shawn would stay home for one, maybe two years.

Shawn had another baby after two years, so she didn’t return to work. All in all, she stayed home for five years. When she was ready to return to work, the economy had been hit with a major blow and jobs were scarce. Shawn couldn’t find a job.

Her first-choice options dwindled away, and she tackled her second-choice options, then her third, and finally she was applying for positions that she would never have considered when she first graduated from college all those years before.

She asked her best friend for some advice. Her best friend also worked in marketing and, at one time, had been Shawn’s colleague at the same agency.

She suggested Shawn divide her time between her job search and updating her marketing skills by earning a Certificate in Digital Marketing. Basically, she could educate herself on what she had missed out on.

Whereas her peers had learned about digital marketing as they went, Shawn would fill in her own resume gaps through continuing education courses.

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