“One of my goals after I completed high school was to go to college,” says Odessa Thomas. “Although it has taken me some time to finish, my motto has always been ‘better late than never.’”
At the age of 41, Odessa made the decision to pursue her goal and earn a college degree. She enrolled at a local community college. When she started, she was a single mother and working full-time, so her busy schedule would only allow her to take two classes at a time. It took a couple of years, but Odessa was finally able to earn her associate degree. She credits her faith and her family for her perseverance.
“Being a woman of strong faith, I continued to P.U.S.H. (pray until something happens) myself to keep up my grades,” Odessa says. “I met my loving husband, who is also in school presently, pursuing his master’s degree in divinity. I have found that without the help, support, and encouragement of my family, I would not have made it this far.”
But there was still farther for Odessa to go. Having achieved one college degree, she wanted to earn a bachelor’s degree as well. Thanks to her job at HD Supply, Odessa found out about Ashford University* and the Full Tuition Grant program. Under the terms of this program, HD Supply’s employee tuition benefits combine with a grant from Ashford to cover the costs of earning a degree. Odessa jumped at the opportunity and enrolled in the Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration program at the Forbes School of Business and Technology™ at the beginning of 2017.
Odessa has thrived at Ashford, maintaining a GPA of 3.93. Because of her outstanding academic record, she has been invited to join two honor societies: Alpha Sigma Lambda and Golden Key International Honour Society. She was also accepted into Ashford’s Honors College, an exclusive educational community for outstanding undergraduate students.
“Applying to the Honors College and being accepted gave me a wonderful feeling of accomplishment,” Odessa says. “Being an Honors College student has challenged me to do my best. I am confident that the curriculum and degree offered within the Honors College will help to promote my intellectual growth. Given my own experience, there is no doubt in my mind that the Honors College experience was one of the best decisions I have made as a college student.”
Odessa is heading into the final year of her bachelor’s program and she continues to excel at Ashford. She is already thinking about the impact her degree will have on her career.
“Upon completing my education with Ashford, I plan to utilize my degree to grow within my company,” she says. “A degree will help to open doors and move me up within the company.”
Success is already paying dividends for Odessa.
“My life has changed for the better,” she says. “I feel a sense of accomplishment every time I finish a course and start onto the next one a couple of weeks later. I am very proud of all that I have accomplished thus far. I know I still have a ways to go, but I can see the light a little brighter at the end of the tunnel than when I first began the process.”
* Ashford University is now the University of Arizona Global Campus