Tamela Bordelon gave higher education several tries.
"I went to LSUA when I first graduated from high school," she said. "Then, I decided I wanted to go to the big college. It didn't work out. Then, I went to the vocational tech school locally. It didn't work out."
However, Bordelon found the ideal format when she enrolled in the online Associate of Arts program through LSU Alexandria. She graduated from the program in December 2017.
"After years of working in retail, I decided, 'You know, this is not for me. I need to find what I want to be when I grow up,'" she said. "I always wanted to go back to school, but I never had the opportunity. LSUA offered seven-week courses, with the option to take two at a time. I knew with having kids and working full-time that was the only way I could get it done, so they really made it possible for me to get my degree."
Bordelon enjoyed the experience so much that she enrolled in the online program for a Bachelor of General Studies: Psychology that she started in January.
"Everybody was supportive," she said. "When I was young, I went in and out of several schools, so I don't know if my family and friends were confident I would finish. They had a 'Go for it' attitude. My husband [Robbin] helped me out some, but he works swing shift at his job. Sometimes I was by myself, so it's very possible for a single momma to do it."
Isn't that Convenient?
Bordelon, 34, works full-time at daycare while raising a family. With the flexibility of the online format, she can study anytime she has free time.
"Sometimes I work on school late at night. The flexibility is big," she said. "LSUA was affordable, and there were also more students my age versus the bigger universities."
Bordelon was interested in nursing, but she could not devote the time for clinicals and shift work to become a nurse with her responsibilities at home.
"I started leaning toward child care and thinking about maybe being a teacher or helping somebody in the community where I could work Monday through Friday, have benefits, be a little bit more flexible with my schedule and have weekends off," she said.
Bordelon hopes to open even more career opportunities with the bachelor's degree; the associate degree has already paid dividends at her current job.
Bordelon enjoyed the psychology courses in the Associate of Arts program the most as those courses helped lead her into the bachelor's degree program.
"In general, I found them very interesting," she said. "They were challenging but not so much I wanted to pull my hair out."
She also found several of the courses in the curriculum applicable to her current job.
"The developmental psychologies helped a lot," she said. "Even Basic English helped me later with other classes and writing papers. They all kind of linked up."
Bordelon was extremely proud to walk the graduation stage -- especially since she is the first person in her family to earn a college degree.
"I figured, 'Hey, I've been out of school since 2002," she said. "It took me all of these years. I'm going to walk. I'm going to do it.' It was fun. It was great."
Now that she has experienced the online format, Bordelon has encouraged several people to give LSUA online a try, too.
"Stick with it," she said. "If I can do it, anybody can do it. Even if you think you can't, or it's been 100 years since you were in school like it had been with me, do it. It's intimidating. I can't say that going in two years ago I was like, 'I can do this." I said, 'I'm going to try.' Looking back, I'm glad I pushed myself to do it."
Learn more about the LSUA online Associate of Arts program.
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