Burnita Bluitt retired early from a career that included jobs at some of the most prestigious companies in the U.S. before finding Ashford University* and her passion for writing.
After high school, she got an associate degree and started working toward her bachelor’s at San Francisco State, but when life got in the way after her junior year—namely work and marriage—she tabled her education to work in human resources management and as an executive assistant, going from McKinsey & Company, to Merrill Lynch, and finally Google, which she describes as an “incredible experience.”
“I always wanted to go back [to college], but I just kept working and never really got a chance, taking a class here and there,” she says.
Retired at 50 in 2009, she finally found the time to pick up where she left off. She had looked into a brick-and-mortar school, but a friend was taking classes online and Burnita was inspired to check it out as well.
“I didn’t have a lot of confidence in online schools. I thought, ‘Oh, they’re not real,’” she says. “Once I started going to Ashford, I saw the amount of work that you need to put into it, and I started to really learn and it challenged me. So I kept going because it enriched me a lot.”
It was during her studies toward a bachelor’s degree in history at Ashford that she discovered she liked to write. So after graduating in 2010, she started going to writing conferences, taking writing seminars, going to writing classes, and in 2014 self-published her own romantic suspense novel, “Quiver of the Pure Heart.”
“When I was at Ashford—you know, you do so many academic papers—I discovered that I liked writing,” she says. “I was writing so much, and I learned how to do research and it really contributed to writing the book.”
She used social media to market the book and exhibited at book festivals. But now that she’s writing her second book, she says she’ll look for an agent.
“It is a challenge being a self-published author and not having a publisher,” she says. “You do learn a lot about the business, but you can’t really challenge that marketing machine; they really have it down.”
But fulfilling a dream of becoming an author is not the only way studying at Ashford changed Burnita’s life.
“I’ve also gotten the satisfaction of knowing I accomplished it,” she says. “It’s just been a source of pride that I finished.”
Looking back on her experience at San Francisco State, Burnita says Ashford was comparable.
“I thought I got just as good of an education online,” she says. “My experience with faculty was terrific. Everyone was available to me. It was a very successful experience.”
* Ashford University is now the University of Arizona Global Campus