Like many of today’s college students, Judilyn Mathis didn’t take the traditional route to earning her bachelor’s degree.
She waited until a few years after high school to start, and a car accident during her second semester of college left Mathis with short-term memory loss and numbness on the left side of her body. Yet, her struggles didn’t deter her from working on an associate’s degree.
“I originally studied radiology, but along the way I found out that my passion was in healthcare administration. I went on to graduate with an associate’s degree in Office Administration and a Diploma in Medical Office Administration. Afterward I felt like I was finally finished, but it turned out I was wrong,” she said.
Within a couple of months, she was exploring bachelor’s degree programs offered online. When Mathis discovered New England College, she liked what she saw.
“I was looking for a degree that would incorporate everything I’d already completed into a bachelor’s degree,” Mathis said. “That’s when I found the NEC healthcare administration program. I researched what healthcare administrators do and I was sold – it was exactly what I wanted. Even better, NEC took every college credit I’d earned and applied it where they could. It turned out I only had to take 15 classes to earn my bachelor’s degree.”
Another important factor was scheduling flexibility. Mathis works full time as an allied health program assistant at a North Carolina community college. The job allows her to help others achieve their dreams through education, but also limits her ability to attend regular college classes. NEC’s online courses offered an option well-suited to her needs.
“The real key to being successful and earning a degree online is to be motivated and to truly want it.” – Judilyn Mathis, BS in Healthcare Administration, Class of 2016
“I decided to earn my degree online since I needed to work full time,” she said. “The convenience of online learning makes it easy for me to work while going back to school. What surprised me about web-based classes is how great the instructors are. They are extraordinarily knowledgeable in their fields and provide the encouragement I need to achieve just about anything.”
The program even provided enough flexibility to allow for a rather important occasion.
“My class schedule made it possible to get my assignments completed and still have a life. When I wanted to get married and go on a honeymoon cruise, I was able to arrange things with my instructor to work ahead. I got all my assignments done beforehand, my husband and I had a wonderful time, and I never missed a beat in my class. I know most schools wouldn’t have allowed that, so I’m very thankful for my teachers at NEC,” she said.
Mathis also developed some study strategies that helped her succeed. She managed her time carefully, and kept a list of what assignments were due and when. She worked down the list each day and marked off those she completed. Studying for a couple hours each night after work usually allowed her to finish everything by Friday, leaving her weekends free.
Still, Mathis believes the most important factors are dedication and family support.
“The real key to being successful and earning a degree online is to be motivated and to truly want it,” Mathis said. “College is hard but very rewarding. If you keep up and stay engaged you will reap the benefits of the classes and what they have to offer. It will also keep your stress level lower.”
“When it comes to the support that I received, it’s hard to even discuss it without crying. My family and husband are the best gifts God ever gave me. They give me encouragement and believe in me on those days I don’t feel like I can do it all. I have been in school nonstop for over five years and they encouraged me every step of the way.”
And her plans for the future? “I’d like to run a department at a hospital and make a difference. In time, I want to become a certified compliance officer. Whatever I do, I want to apply the knowledge and skills I’ve developed to really reach my full potential!”