National University alumna Asya W. exudes confidence as she strides across stages as an international keynote speaker and expertly handles media interviews as the founder of Women of Project Management®.
Seeing her today, it’s hard to imagine she was once shy, strove to please others at the cost of her own personal fulfillment, and pursued a career as a pharmacist, knowing deep down it was a bad fit. But earning a degree at National University transformed her life. “I got my power back,” says Asya, who founded the only organization dedicated to supporting and amplifying the voices of women and women of color in every specialty of the project management industry worldwide.
Asya’s story: Finding support at NU
Asya gained far more than an impressive academic credential on her resume at National University. She gained unstoppable self-confidence and a bold vision of her life through the support of NU faculty, staff, and fellow students.
“When I enrolled in NU, I was able to recapture the dream that I once had for myself and my career,” she says. “I was also able to get that power back by accomplishing goals and feeling successful through the program.”
Through NU’s Whole Human Education™, students receive the academic, career, financial, emotional, and family support they need to stay on track, finish faster, and reach their personal and professional goals. As she Juggled a career, parenting, and marriage, Asya first had qualms about whether she could add higher education into the mix.
It was reassuring to know NU faculty and staff work side-by-side with students to break the individual barriers they face as they strive toward a higher education. Whether they need career guidance, veteran services, tutoring information, or help adjusting to our fast-paced 4- and 8-week course format, our knowledgeable and caring Student Services staff is readily available to provide assistance.
Meanwhile, our Career Services team offers quality career resources to help students identify and fulfill their goals as well as develop lifelong professional and career development skills. Our services include career counseling, career fairs, career exploration and assessments, employer information sessions, interviewing techniques, the Handshake job portal, mock interviews, online workshops, and resume and cover letter review. “The Career Services team was crucial in my decision to enroll in the program,” Asya says. “I was able to walk through what a career with an MBA might look like for me. They showed me different classes that I needed to take to graduate and be successful. I really liked their holistic approach. They provide services such as resume critiques and tips on job interviewing skills. Those are critical. After you earn your degree it’s important to know what’s next, which makes it easier to go ahead and land that dream job.”
Why National University?
When Asya chose National University, she was looking for a school that met her needs and matched her busy lifestyle as a wife and mother juggling work and family.
“I wasn’t a traditional student and couldn’t afford to quit work to attend classes,” she says. “I wanted to both work and further my education to get better jobs and build a better career future. When I saw the one-month classes, it really piqued my interest. I said to myself, ‘I can do anything for one month.’”
National University’s MBA program really clicked. Not only did the classes intrigue her, but they fit into her schedule perfectly. She also discovered the advantages of taking classes from professors who are active in the professional fields they teach. “Every single professor I had was really great. Not only were they teaching the course, but they also had these amazing careers. I loved asking them about their careers and learning how they got where they are,” she says. “It was really important to me to have teachers who weren’t only textbook smart, but also walking the walk.”
“I’m always the person in class who has a lot of questions, and the professors were always really great and gracious with answering any question that I had for them and going above and beyond to make sure that I was getting a good experience and that I really understood the content.” With every course she completed, Asya regained the self-confidence she had lost after quitting a doctoral program to become a pharmacist. “There was a big part of me that was lost. And a lot of that was confidence,” she says.
A detour on the path to success
Like the estimated 80% of college students who end up changing their majors at least once, Asya first chose a degree program that was a bad fit.
She earned top grades as an undergraduate student majoring in biology and chemistry at Xavier University in New Orleans and went on to study pharmacy in its doctoral program.
“It was everyone else’s dream except mine,” she says. “I continued to stick it out, but I ended up falling in a deep depression because I realized no matter how much I continued to get good grades, it wasn’t something I wanted to do.”
Two years into the program, Hurricane Katrina, one of the most powerful Atlantic storms on record, hit New Orleans, unleashing deadly floods that forced evacuations and upending lives for thousands of people like Asya. “The whole school shut down, and it made me really take a look at what it was that I really wanted to do. What were the goals I was trying to accomplish?”
She didn’t have all the answers yet, but she knew for certain that she wasn’t cut out to be a pharmacist. Leaving the doctoral program “was a devastating day for me because I thought I had failed,” she says. “But it was also a huge turning point.”
She applied for multiple jobs and landed her first role in project management as an IT project coordinator.
“Project management came very naturally to me because I’ve always been very organized and task-oriented. I’m very curious about work, and I always want to know about the big picture,” she says. “I fell in love with it and knew that I wanted to further my career in the profession.” After gaining work experience, she enrolled in NU’s MBA program. She discovered earning an MBA is a great way to upskill, advance in a profession, or break into a new career.
Choosing the right program for you
A challenging question all students going to college will ultimately face is, “What program should I choose?” Consider these three factors:
- What are you most passionate about? Studies show that students who enjoy what they’re learning will perform better in their program of choice. If you choose a major because of the influence of others, you may not be as excited and motivated.
- What’s the projected salary and job outlook for individuals with this degree oajr certificate? Data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics can help you answer this question as you decide what you want to do with your life.
- What’s the time investment? Before choosing a major, research which degrees you’re required to obtain for your chosen field, and how long they’ll take you to complete. Keep in mind not all degrees require the same amount of effort. For example, a general psychology degree may involve less schoolwork and time commitment than a pre-med degree.
Scholarships and financial aid
Once you choose the right program for you, the next important question is, “Can I afford it?” To make higher education more affordable, NU offers the Opportunity Scholarship, a need- and program-based award to help reduce the cost of undergraduate tuition. If you face the unexpected costs of a life emergency, small grants are available to help you stay in school. For one-on-one guidance, NU’s financial aid advisors help you find resources to pay for school. Visit nu.edu to learn more about the University’s scholarships and grants.
Earn your degree or certificate with National University
National University, a Veteran-founded nonprofit, has been dedicated to meeting the needs of hard-working adults by providing accessible, affordable, achievable higher education opportunities since 1971. NU offers more than 190 programs and 4- and 8-week courses designed to help students reach their goals while balancing busy lives. Since its founding, the NU community has grown to over 40,000 students and 230,000+ alumni around the globe.