Endless Rewards

Wendy Van AhnWendy Van Ahn is an Educational Leadership graduate student from Oshkosh, Wis. Van Ahn was inspired to go back to college in 2006 to complete her bachelor’s degree when she started working at the University. She plans on graduating in the summer of 2013, and currently works as a Community Outreach Specialist for the Division of Lifelong Learning and Community Engagement.

Off and on for years the thought of completing my degree had crossed my mind, only to vanish as quickly as it had appeared. After all, I had opted to get married, raise a family and be a stay-at-home mom. How could I consider returning to college and complete my degree? Ever since my early childhood, my life’s dream was to become a wife and mother.

It wasn’t until I began working at the University that the idea of returning to complete my degree became a prominent and serious thought. Ultimately, it was my work with nontraditional students (in LLCE adult student resources) that gave me the incentive to take the leap and work at earning my degree.

Daily I was connected with other students who were not so unlike myself. They had multiple obligations that were higher on their priority lists than their schoolwork.Yet somehow they managed to carve out a piece of their life and dedicate it to their education.
It was not long before I began to see myself in their shoes. I made the decision to return to college and finish the degree I had started some 24 years earlier!

Just like the students I worked with on a daily basis, I experienced what I like to call the “mood swing” of emotions and feelings…excitement, fear, anxiety, wonder and more all at the same time.

Thanks to the two years of credits I had earned right out of high school, I was nearly half way to my bachelor’s degree. As I thought about what I would major in, I knew I needed a degree program that would fit my life.

I worked full time during the day and was active in my children’s lives. This is how I chose the Bachelor of Liberal Studies program which offered accelerated evening and online classes.  The perfect match!

I first began classes in the spring of 2006 and looking ahead, commencement day seemed to be far off somewhere in the distant future. Little did I realize how quickly time would fly by and that by December of 2009 I would walk across the stage and receive my degree!

Adding school and homework to an already full life is challenging, but the rewards are endless, especially when you open yourself up to the learning experience!

There are many stories I can and will share about earning my degree. The good news is that I did it and you can too! You may even be like me and continue on to earn your master’s degree, which I anticipate completing this summer

1 Response to “Endless Rewards”


  • Some may question my bias, and they would be correct, but that would take away from the fact that her family is incredibly proud of her. You see, she spoiled us by giving of herself first and yet ‘found time’ to finish her degree. She hasn’t stopped yet as she is working on her Masters. This is the story behind the story. 40 hr work week, 10 hours of class, homework and God only knows how many hours being what she always wanted to be. If you are looking for an example of what it takes – this is it! ‘This’ runs the program. ‘This’ is the glue of our family.

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