Kara Carr has not let life stop her from achieving her dream of finishing college.
For Kara, a wife and mother of two children, the journey to a college degree took more than 10 years, concluding with a bachelor’s in Healthcare Administration from New England College, earned online. She started studying healthcare administration at NEC in 2013 and plans to graduate in Spring 2016.
“I believe everyone has a drive within him or herself to move forward, we can blame the obstacles that got in our way, but ultimately you can either limit yourself or push past them and receive the desires of your heart,” she said. “There is no time on your dreams, only society tells you when you need to do this and do that. You have to choose a time that is best for you.”
Kara started college in 2004, with plans to become a registered nurse, and has had to deal with life’s unexpected turns including:
- A move from Texas to California during her husband’s service in the U.S. Marine Corps
- Issues with transferring college credits at a college she was researching
- Raising her first child while her husband was deployed to Afghanistan
While her husband was overseas, Kara moved back to Texas to live with her parents, and earned her national certification in medical billing and coding. When her husband was released from military service, she went to work at a home healthcare agency as a medical biller and discovered her calling.
“I witnessed healthcare administrators that had no passion for what they did. This is where my passion began to grow for healthcare administration, as I wanted to change the face of healthcare administrators,” she said.
Her husband, who now works as a gas turbine engine operator, enrolled at NEC last summer to study criminal justice. He has been doubling up on his course load to graduate in Spring 2017. As the spouse of a veteran, Kara has been able to receive special savings on tuition, while her husband receives benefits under the Post-9/11 GI Bill®.
She is very excited about her upcoming graduation in May, and looks forward to finally achieving her goal. Kara spoke to us about her experience at NEC.
What drew you to study at New England College?
I liked the fact that New England College has a military history and I liked the tight knit community many of my advisors described it being surrounded by.
Why did you decide to pursue your degree online?
I was looking for something that was flexible and convenient to go with my hectic life with a toddler. Online classes fit that category. I was able to work on school at night and tend to my rambunctious toddler throughout the day.
What has surprised you about earning a college degree online?
I think what surprised me initially was the fact that I had to have so much more self-discipline with time management and due dates. I was so used to being in a classroom and seeing my professors face to face, but over time I got into the routine of things.
What would you like to achieve with your degree from NEC?
I would like to start my career as a healthcare administrator, either in a medical billing department or within a small facility.
What would you tell other students thinking about enrolling in the program?
The professors at New England College are in your corner; they want you to succeed just as much as you do. Ask questions, use them to your advantage, and they will help you gain the knowledge needed to make your career a successful one.
What strategies do you use to manage your life and your studies, with both you and your husband in school?
My husband is a shift worker who mainly works nights. We alternate our schedules to coordinate with our classes. If I know he has major homework due, I will work on all mine two nights prior to his so I can manage the kids and keep them calm while he works and vice versa. We definitely have to work together in order to make it work.
What do you think is the key to being successful in earning a degree online?
Self-discipline and time management are very important. I also think having a good support system is helpful.
What kind of support have you received during your studies?
My husband and my mom have been my main support. There were times when projects and homework became overwhelming for me, especially when you have two kids at home with you, but my husband and mom both were in my corner. They constantly were rooting me on in the times I wanted to give up, constantly reminding me of the finish line that was in the near future, and it was those pushes that ultimately got me over those bumps in the road.
Who or what inspires you to succeed?
My family inspires me to succeed. I want to secure my children’s future. I want to inspire my family to reach for their dreams, to fulfill the desires of their hearts and to never have regrets. I believe a great education is a key to the future. If I teach my children this now they will never depart from it.