Victoria Boston was raised by parents who believed in education and follow-through. “Mom was an educator who knew the importance of reading and learning, and Dad was a military man who knew the importance of finishing what you start,” she says. She noted that her parents were disappointed when she decided to work full time for the Navy rather than go on to college after high school, and it became important to her to find a way to eventually get a degree.

GOING BACK TO SCHOOL WITH A CAREER

Initially, it seemed like the right choice. After three years with the Navy, where she was promoted like clockwork every six months, she went to work for Verizon. Boston continued getting promotions, but she began to wonder how far she could go without a college degree. She even tried taking a course at a local community college, but her demanding career made attending class a near impossibility.

This early experience with college led her to think she’d never succeed. However, when a friend at church shared about her own degree program, done partly online, Boston was intrigued. Some research brought her to Strayer University. “When I connected with Strayer, I realized their flexibility was exactly what I needed,” she recalls.

Still, she worried. Her employer offered tuition assistance, but if she failed a course, she’d have to pay it back. Her church friend stepped up with an amazing offer. If Boston tried and failed, the friend would pay the company back. With that guarantee, Boston took a deep breath and signed up for one class. The result? “I aced that first class!”

FLEXIBLE LEARNING FORMATS WERE THE KEY

Having aced that first class, Boston was ready to try for her Bachelor’s in Business Administration, and she found Strayer’s flexible program formats made all the difference in her path to success. “I could not have done it without Strayer,” she says. “Having access to courses all year long and the ability to test out of classes, I fell in love with it. Plus, I was able to use what I was learning every day at work. I started with just one class at a time, but eventually added courses. My last two semesters I took four courses each, which was demanding, but I was excited to finish that degree.”

She completed her bachelor’s degree the year before her daughter started her senior year of high school, but knew she ultimately wanted to continue with an MBA program. “I took a year off because I wanted her senior year to be all about her,” she says. “But once she graduated, I was ready to start my MBA.” She completed her MBA in 2009. Does she think she’ll eventually go on to earn a doctoral degree? “Someday, maybe,” she says. “I was exhausted at the end of my MBA! But I believe in lifelong learning.”

OPENING DOORS

Today Boston is Vice President for the Comcast NBC Universal Loyalty Centers of Excellence, and she’s won several leadership awards. Did her bachelor’s and MBA degrees help her move forward? “Absolutely,” she says. “I think education is the new currency. Employers appreciate and respect people who are engaged in lifelong learning.”

She also feels the degrees made her more competitive. “My degrees opened doors a bit more for me,” she explains. “I’m a woman of color in a male-dominated industry. I don’t want to provide reasons not to hire me.”

WHAT IT TAKES

Boston is firm in her belief that Strayer helped her succeed. “It’s not just the online component,” she says. “There were two classes I struggled with: economics and logic. I didn’t know if I could get through them. I reached out, and Strayer helped set up a session with a professor on a Saturday, face to face, to help me work through what I didn’t understand.”

She has advice for others who are worried that they will fail at returning to school: “The Nike ads say, ‘Just do it.’ They believe there’s an athlete in everybody. I believe there’s a student in everybody. Just take one class to start. Engage your family and your support system, because they might be more supportive than you could imagine. Make time management and organization a priority. Let the other stuff go. We lived off cereal at times, and we made it work.”

Finally, she says, “Believe in yourself. Bet on yourself. You’re smarter and more resilient than you think you are. And Strayer will help you. They want you to succeed, and they have so many resources to help you. You can work, learn, and take classes from anywhere. Do it!”

Learn more about BBA programs at Strayer University.

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