After almost 20 years away from school, Kim Friels Texada resumed her education in LSU Alexandria's online Bachelor of Science in Psychology program. She started in May of 2016, with hopes to graduate in 2020. She lives in Alexandria and enjoys taking all of her courses online.
Being a housewife with six children takes up a lot of her time, but school is now a priority. "Doing the program online gives me the freedom to still be home and take care of the things I need to take care of at home," Friels said. "I have things to do all day and get the kids back and forth. It gives me the convenience to be able to study and take my exams on my schedule."
Telecom to Classroom
Previously, Friels had repaired Apple products and worked as a store manager for Sprint. Leaving the workforce wasn't a tough decision.
"I had been working in the same field for about 15 years," she said. "And when I was ready to change direction, I found I wasn't really able to do that because I was kind of limited in what I could do without a bachelor's degree. So that's what made me decide to go back to school -- I figured I'd try something else."
Because she had been out of school since 1996, she was hesitant at first, but she was ready to make the changes needed for a career boost.
Which Way to Geaux
Friels went to Baker High School and attended classes at Southern University, but education took a back seat when she got married and started a family. Now with three kids in grade school and three in college, including a senior at LSUA, she's ready to find a new career.
"LSUA was the school to go to for a lot of us," she said about growing up in the area. She had lived in Mississippi for 20 years and moved back to the Alexandria area in 2016.
Psychology has always interested Friels.
"I love the mind," she said. "I love to study people -- the personalities. I've always been told I was a good counselor, a good listener. I just have a gift for talking to people and helping them through their problems so I thought why not do it professionally? I feel like I should have been doing that, but I went the long way to get there."
When she graduates, she wants to earn a master's degree in social work so she can be a clinical social worker. Events in her own life drew her to this line of work.
"A lot of times people go through things in life, and they get off track," she said. "And some people need help getting back on track. I've been through a lot in life, and I feel that I can help people to try and get back on track and figure things out."
Real life informs real talk. "It's easier to talk to people when you can come from a place of empathy and understanding," she said. "Or if I can coach someone through something. Nine times out of 10, I know what I'm talking about. I am a success story, so I believe I can share that with others and help people to get over their hurt. Being hurt causes people to make a lot of bad decisions in life and I want to be that person who can help them to navigate their way through their hurt."
Of the courses Friels has taken in LSUA's online Bachelor of Science in Psychology program, two stand out.
PSYC 4082: Introduction to Abnormal Psychology gave her insight into the workings of the mind.
"It was very interesting to learn about the different disorders and what causes them and some of the factors that bring on those things," Friels said. She also enjoyed PSYC 3001: Cultural Diversity.
The support Friels is receiving from all quarters is helping her manage the various demands on her time.
"My family's supportive; my husband's supportive," she said. "I have nothing but support, honestly. It's made it a lot easier, too."
She also found motivation to return to school from her best friend, who returned to school for a master's degree in education and became a special education teacher.
"She had been on me about it for years to do this," Friels said. "I finally broke down and did it, so she's been completely supportive."
Friels is enjoying the support and freedom of the online format.
"The ability to be 100 percent online contributed to my decision to go," she said. "Because if I had to go in classes, I probably wouldn't be doing this. I am 40. I don't really want to sit in class during the day."
Advice for Students
For those considering the online program, Friels suggests planning ahead. "Make sure everything is going to work where you can do this because if you do an online program, it is a lot. They cover a lot of material in seven weeks. You don't want to do it when you're stressed and you have a lot going on -- I think that will lessen your enjoyment of the experience and commitment to finishing it. So I would definitely say, before you start the process, make sure you're ready for that."
And for current students: "Just keep pushing," she said. "You started it, and you took the steps to get it going -- so, just finish. Whatever excuses, whatever comes up, just finish. Just stick with it."
Learn more about the LSUA online bachelor's in psychology program.
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