Cathy Kinney, a senior administrative assistant in the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, started college at UD right after high school, but decided early on that she wanted to go to work rather than go to college. As the years went by, she began to regret that decision and getting a degree went on her “bucket list.”
When Kinney came to work at UD, she took advantage of the University’s course fee waiver benefit. With the fee waiver, benefits-eligible employees can take up to two courses per semester or session without paying tuition.
“I began taking classes one at a time,” says Kinney. “That was all I could handle while working full-time, raising two children, and being a caregiver of an elderly relative. Although there were some challenging times and periods that I did not take any classes at all, I remained steadfast and graduated with my associate in arts degree in May 2012.”
Kinney reports that she had many rewarding experiences as she worked toward her degree. For instance, her project on the Corbit-Sharp House in Odessa, Del., for her History of Landscape Design course is published in the Library of Congress Historic American Landscapes Survey catalog.
“That was a very proud moment for me,” Kinney said, but an even more amazing highlight was going on a study abroad trip to Siena, Italy, during Winter Session 2012. “It certainly was a rewarding experience — one that I will never forget, and I proudly wore the Italian study-abroad stole at graduation,” said Kinney. “I would encourage all students, at any age, to study abroad to experience life, firsthand, with people of a different culture and to appreciate the history of the world we live in. I am most grateful to the University of Delaware for this opportunity of a lifetime.”
Kinney began working toward her degree with the help of the advisers in the UD ACCESS Center. ACCESS, a part of the Division of Professional and Continuing Studies, provides academic advisement and career counseling to returning adult students and other nontraditional students. The services are free of charge and open to anyone in the community. The ACCESS Center can be reached at 302-831-2741.
“Going back to school may feel a little intimidating,” said Kinney. “The advisers in the ACCESS Center are great to work with and will keep you on track as you progress. Your adviser can help ease any anxiety you may be feeling. When in doubt, it pays off to speak with your ACCESS adviser.”
“Working toward this degree has absolutely changed my perspective on life,” said Kinney. “I have gained an enormous respect for my children and other students who work so hard to earn their degree. It’s not easy, but anything can be accomplished with a little determination, dedication, discipline and diligence. I’ve also gained a sense of confidence and pride in earning a degree. In addition, I feel like I have a ‘re-purpose’ in life — not quite sure what that is at this point, but I am pretty excited about the prospects and possibilities.”
Article by Tara White Kee
Photo by Ambre Alexander
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