When Jessica Castro enrolled at Ashford University* in 2016 to earn her Bachelor of Arts in Entrepreneurship, she was about to begin what many would see as a nearly impossible task: earning a college degree while holding down two full-time jobs. Of course, Jessica Castro isn’t one to shy away from a challenge.
The decision to keep both jobs and attend school meant Jessica would have to be incredibly motivated.
Although she knew it would be tough to balance waitressing, working as a T-Mobile sales representative, and taking online college classes, Jessica was determined to get to the next level in her career. She chose to pursue a business degree because it could take her beyond a sales job and put her on a path towards business ownership.
At first, she felt a bit overwhelmed.
“School was feeling like a third job, and I didn’t know how to balance my time,” she says. “I was also struggling with certain courses.
Managing all three commitments was difficult at first, but Jessica didn’t give up. She learned to take advantage of the tools available at Ashford University. The flexibility offered with online courses and having access to the right resources – particularly Ashford’s mentoring program, CHAMPS – were key to helping her figure out her formula for success.
“I was able to overcome those challenges with a little help from a mentor assigned to me,” she says. “I love that Ashford University has everything for a student to succeed.”
Knowing when to ask for help and where to get it allowed Jessica to gain momentum. She also turned to the library for research papers, Grammarly to correct her grammar, and the peer review to polish up her essays.
Soon, Jessica began to excel in classes and has pushed herself outside of her comfort zone. Philosophy, a class she admits she found scary at first, ended up becoming her favorite.
“I felt great in that class,” she says. “I love a challenge, and philosophy, which applies critical thinking, helped me improve my thinking process by engaging intellectually with peers.”
Jessica’s hard work and dedication paid off. She not only continues to pass her classes, but she also has been recognized by the Dean and has been invited to join Sigma Nu Tau, an honor society for students pursuing a degree in business entrepreneurship.
“I was surprised when I got an email stating that I made the Dean’s list and was happy to know that my hard work was not going unnoticed,” she says.
In the process of pushing herself to meet educational goals, Jessica realized she wanted to go even further with her education. For this dreamer and doer, a bachelor’s degree was just the beginning. She graduated with her bachelor's degree in 2020 and is now pursuing her Master of Science in Finance.
“I feel more motivated than ever to continue my path,” she says. “Thank you, Ashford, and Ashford staff members that have been involved in my progress, for giving me the opportunity to be a part of this University and for helping me become a brighter student.”
* Ashford University is now the University of Arizona Global Campus