Finding a field of study in college that leads to a career you’ll love is a popular goal, but for Cameron Grant, going to college after high school didn’t work out.
She began work as a dental assistant, and over the course of a 16-year career, she worked her way up to director of dental services at a large community health center. Along the way, she got married, had two kids and even became a sommelier with an extensive wine collection.
But she was still missing a degree and had pushed herself as far as she could professionally. Unable to climb any further up the ladder at the health center without a degree, Grant set out to address the only soft spot on her résumé.
“I started my online education at another college,” Grant said. “I decided to transition to New England College based upon the length of the courses and the interactive classes it offered.”
She knew this time, finishing would take dedication.
“You have to make sure you’re committed. You’ll only be successful at distance learning if you’re committed to investing what it takes to do well,” Grant said.
The Rhode Island native’s attainment of a bachelor’s degree in healthcare administration has provided her the managerial and leadership skills and credentials necessary to advance professionally.
“My degree will allow me to move into a position with more leadership responsibilities,” Grant said. “It enables me to apply for positions that require a bachelor’s degree. I’ve reached a point where I’m at the top of where I can go without a degree. I couldn’t make more money or get another promotion without one.”
It wasn’t just career aspirations that inspired her return to school. There was also a more personal motivation. A few years ago, her daughter asked if she had gone to college. Grant said yes, but was unable to give the same answer to the next question.
“She said, ‘Well, did you graduate?’. And I said ‘No, I didn’t.’ So that, coupled with the fact that I’m at the highest position I can be at my current job without a degree, motivated me to go back to school and finish what I started 20 years ago,” she said.
“I want to set a good example for her,” Grant said when she attended her graduation ceremony. “It was important to me that I finish. It means a lot to have her see me walk across that stage. I feel like in part I’m doing this for her so she can see what path I absolutely expect out of her. I wanted her to see me finishing something.”
NEC’s flexibility and ability to support students proved to be a valuable asset for Grant as her workload increased on her way to graduation.
“I like that I can go to school in my pajamas and do classwork anywhere. A café with Wi-Fi on my lunch break or while my son is napping,” Grant said. “My advisor was very good at communicating and she was very in tune to my idiosyncrasies as a student. I am very much a type-A personality. I need to have control over my own life at all times, so she was very good about once a class started, getting me enrolled in my next class so I could plan.”
Grant spoke with us about her experience with NEC.
What were the most important factors in your decision to choose NEC?
The length of classes as well as availability of classes influenced my decision. I was only five semesters into my program at another college and I was already having issues getting into the classes I needed.
What was your favorite class and why?
My favorite class was definitely Leadership (BU3610). The professor was fantastic and the discussion boards were the most interesting I have experienced during my online education.
What do you wish you’d known before starting our online program?
I wish I had known that some of the lower-level classes required a much more significant amount of work than some of the higher-level classes.
What is your most valuable takeaway from the program?
The most valuable takeaway I have from this program is the time management skills I have developed. As a mother of two young children who works full time, I had to implement some very creative time management skills in order to complete assignments on time.
What advice would you give other students who are considering enrolling in the program?
The best advice I can give to somebody who’s thinking about going back to school, especially online, is knowing that the people at NEC are there to support you 110%. Whether they are faculty, or administrative, they have the resources to help you to be successful.
Who or what inspires you to succeed?
I am definitely a Type A personality. I can’t do anything halfway. I am inspired to do the best job I can at every task I am given.