I knew I wanted to attend college after I completed high school, but my mother told me that I was not ready for college, and was not going to waste her money. Instead, I joined the Army Reserves and worked full-time as a security guard and records clerk

I decided to go back to school in 2002. I did not stay committed; it was expensive.  After we moved from Missouri to California, I decided to go back to school. I attempted to go back when my daughter was two; I struggled. My husband was on his second tour in Iraq. I found it difficult to maintain my home, manage diabetes and take care of a two-year-old. I dropped out of college for the 3rd time.

After moving from California to Indiana in 2010, my best friend and I made a pact to finish our college degrees before we turned 40.  In 2013, I decided it was time for me to focus on completing my degree. Plus, I was tired of people telling me that I would do great in different roles, but since I did not have my degree, I would not be able to apply for them. How would I pay for it? My employer provided $10,000 a year in tuition assistance. The next task was figuring out if I wanted to attend school in a traditional setting or go online. Due to my husband being in the Army and my heavy involvement in the online diabetes community, I decided to get my degree online. I was determined, excited and ready to get started.

At first, going to school online felt like one of the hardest things to do, even after joining the reserves, watching my husband leave for Iraq twice, living in a different city for two years, having a baby and getting diagnosed with diabetes. Sitting down at a computer after work to complete homework assignments takes a lot of willpower and a ton of positive quotes ( “I can do it” and “I’m worth it”). My daughter, husband and mother often tell me that they are proud of me, and I receive encouraging messages through texts, Facebook or Twitter from friends and the online diabetes community.

I entered my senior year this Fall, and I’ll admit that I’m struggling to stay focused (I think I have a case of senioritis!). Plus, I can think of 10 things I would rather be doing instead of homework. Graduation is keeping me motivated. I see the light at the end of the tunnel. I can see myself walking across the stage in May 2019 to receive my bachelor’s degree in Mass Communication and Media Studies. It will be a dream come true.

We're so excited to share Cherise’s story! Cherise is a part of our #LearnASULive team, an ASU Online brand ambassador program highlighting students who are earning their degrees while living their lives to the fullest. If you enjoyed this, be sure to check back for new articles from Cherise so that you can follow along with her journey. To check out all her posts to date, visit Cherise’s Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and About me.

Want to hear from our other ambassadors, too? Use the #LearnASULive hashtag across your favorite social channels to browse through them!

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