In 2010, Chris Friedrich was in his sixth year of college and he said he felt like he would never be able to graduate. That’s when Friedrich said fate led him to meet then UW Oshkosh online degree and certificate programs adviser Kelly Hudson.
Friedrich, then a personal banker at Associated Bank, met Hudson when she came to him to refinance the loan on her house. Friedrich later turned to Hudson for help in completing his bachelor's degree.
“I came into Kelly’s office, and we spent two and a half hours talking. Kelly laid out two different pathways to graduation,” Friedrich said. “I chose the liberal studies option.”
The online liberal studies degree through the Division of Lifelong Learning and Community Engagement allows students to combine coursework in a number of disciplines to help them develop a broad base of skills necessary for becoming a leader in the workplace, which Friedrich said helped him get his current job at Baylake Bank.
After graduating high school in 2000, Chris Friedrich took four years off to work and started college at UW Oshkosh in 2004 working towards a business degree. Friedrich switched from business to journalism and finally to a Bachelor’s of Liberal Studies, which allowed him to continue working full-time.
“As a nontraditional student I felt online classes were better for me because when I was in classes on campus, I was with 18–21-year-olds, and I felt like I didn’t fit in,” Friedrich said.
Initially Friedrich said he was apprehensive about taking classes online, but he said after taking the his first two classes online it was exactly what he wanted.
“Once I started doing my classes online it was great — I could do it on weekends, over my lunch hour and in the evening,” Friedrich said.
Friedrich said taking his classes online helped him to become more focused because of the planning and determination he said he needed to complete his school work.
“It’s not as scary as you think it is,” Friedrich said. “If you have the determination to want to do it, then you should try it. For me the end was tough, but it was worth it — it’s not necessarily supposed to be easy.”
Friedrich credits his success in completing his degree to the support he received from the people around him. His wife had already finished college and was able to help Friedrich know what to expect, and his employers even worked with Friedrich to give him time off to work on his senior research paper.
“I really leaned on my wife, who had already graduated six years prior, for support,” Friedrich said. “Knowing that I had the support of my wife and my employer really helped me stay disciplined and finish my degree.”