Sasha wanted nothing more than to earn a bachelor's degree in history. As a child, she would sit for hours in the family den, curled in a large red armchair while thumbing through Will and Ariel Durant's many tomes on the subject. Scenes from the Persian War and Periclean Athens whirled in her head. Outside it could be summer, the sun golden and inviting, the sky cloudless, but Sasha wanted to read, and she wanted to read history. In history class, she always knew the answers. As soon as the teacher would ask a question, her arm would shoot up like the tail of a cat stepping on a live wire.
It was natural then that Sasha made plans to attend college. Working hard to earn straight A's, she was a stellar student. Her senior year she eagerly filled out dozens of college applications, and she won admission to almost every school to which she applied. She spent hours trying to decide between Yale, with its Ivy-covered walls, and Reed College, which boasted democratic student governance. Long hours she spent paging through booklets and leaflets and pamphlets, each singing the praises of its respective university. She talked to friends, and family members, but each recommended a different college, and no two shared an opinion. This was no sorrowful decision, however. Sasha was filled with joy; she anticipated years and years of solid university education. The world of higher education was to her heaven.
But higher education was not in Sasha's immediate future. For she had another love besides history, and his name was Ben. Dark-haired, blue-eyed and rangy, he shoved history from Sasha’s heart and swept in, all romance and fast cars, When, at seventeen, Sasha found out she was pregnant, her dreams of a history degree vanished as her waistline expanded. The last semester of her senior year, she left high school. She got a job at the only fast-food restaurant in her small town. Her life, she thought, was ruined.
Sasha worked sixty hours a week. When she gave birth (to twins) that workload doubled. She didn't have time to watch television, let alone read histories. Tired of drudgery and dirty diapers, Ben left to pursue a construction job out West. He was a good sort, and every so often small envelopes would arrive in the mail – child support checks. As Ben grew more successful, the check amounts became larger, until finally Sasha could reduce her work hours. The twins were old enough to attend school, and she found herself with hours seemingly empty yet pregnant with potential.
Sasha had learned of distance education from a friend. At first she didn't believe that you could earn a degree without attending class – and from almost any university, no less! From Cornell to the University of Indiana, schools offered degrees in almost any subject. She went online to investigate. There she found an Arizona State University online degree program in history. Though she associated Arizona with guns, cowboys and scorpions, the state offered a fantastic history program for students across the nation. For the first time in years, Sasha felt hope swell her heart. She signed up to receive more information – the first step in what was to blossom into a rewarding educational journey.
Today Sasha not only has a bachelor's degree in history, but also a doctorate. She teaches courses at her local community college. Unwilling to let her students feel discouragement's sting, she often regales them with tales of her own hardships. For her success story is only one of thousands made possible through distance education. Last week the Distance Learning Association celebrated National Distance Education Week. The association hosted free webinars and celebrations across the nation. Online educators showcased the latest trend in distance learning technology. It was, in short, a celebration of one of the most revolutionary events to happen in the education sector in decades – centuries even!
Distance education has made a difference in thousands of lives. From the wind-swept prairie wife, to the inner-city ER nurse – they all can reap the benefits of distance education. A laptop, a desk (maybe) and a phone – that’s all you need to get you distance education started. When life seems hopeless, when all paths appear impassable, distance learning can come to the rescue. Start now. All it takes is a bit of initiative to launch your new career just like Sasha did. Contact one of the many universities offering distance education courses. From an associate's degree to a doctorate, anything is possible after the e-learning revolution.