Richard Young wanted to finish the bachelor’s degree he’d had on hold for 20 years.
His daughter, Angelique Young, wanted a new direction and career opportunities.
Their unique needs led them to the same path: the Bachelor of General Studies online at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette.
Now the father-daughter Ragin’ Grads are looking forward to celebrating their achievements together.
“When we discovered that Angelique would be graduating in December, I basically sat out during the summer and took my last class this semester, so that we can graduate together,” says Richard.
Right Time, Right Fit
The idea of completing his bachelor’s degree had been buzzing in Richard’s head for years, but without a way to earn his degree while working full time and being present for his children, it was just background noise.
Then in 2020, Richard saw an ad for CompeteLA — a UL System initiative to help Louisiana residents with college credits complete their degrees at a reduced tuition rate.
“I think that I had run out of excuses not to go back and finish, and then this cost-effective solution introduced itself,” he says.
And so, in early 2021, Richard enrolled in the Business Studies concentration of the General Studies online.
“I discovered that it was all going to be available 100% online, and that it would be self-paced with deadlines, so I could set my own schedule as long as I met that deadline,” he says. “And it just fit, it worked really well.”
Motivated and Moving Forward
While Richard was returning to school after decades working in the IT industry, Angelique moved directly into the general studies program from an on-campus program.
Angelique enrolled at UL Lafayette in 2018 as a freshman with her sights set on teaching.
Eventually, she realized that wasn’t the path for her, and she was struggling as a result.
“Since making the decision to switch majors, I’ve spent a lot of time feeling a mix between scared and excited for my future,” says Angelique. However, “since switching, these are the best grades I’ve had throughout my past four and a half years.”
The primary reason General Studies has been such a relief for Angelique is now she feels she has a much broader range of opportunities ahead.
“General Studies online was perfect for me during this time because instead of having to schedule my life around school, I could schedule school around my life,” she says. “This gave me time to figure out what I actually want to do next.”
Balancing Online Coursework
Richard and Angelique each chose degree concentrations that dovetailed with their previous experiences and goals. For Richard, that meant focusing on business studies while Angelique pursued behavioral science.
Although they chose unique paths, the two developed similar strategies for managing their coursework.
For Richard, the key to balancing work, having one child still at home, and a social life, and his classes was to “take it a week at a time,” he says.
“My habit was to sit down on Sunday, and I would go through deadlines for that week, and compare them to responsibilities I had at work, if there was something going on with [my daughter] Isabelle that I had to either attend or get her to, if I had a social responsibility, and I just did the best that I could to plan all of those things.”
Hearing her dad’s strategy as the two talked through their experiences, Angelique immediately recognized her own approach.
“That was kind of how I started to do things, too,” she says. “My boyfriend is in the military. So, if there’s a weekend coming up when I know that he’ll be able to come to town or I would go to see him, I would do the exact same thing. Look at all my deadlines, like, ‘How do I get all of this done so that when it comes time for the weekend, I don’t have to worry about any of it?’”
Although they never got to take a class together, they did take the same organizational leadership class during different terms and were able to bond over what they learned.
“The last couple of times that we were in person together, we’ve been able to relate a lot more,” she says. “Having shared experiences, I think that gives us some rapport.”
Setting New Goals
Richard and Angelique both came to General Studies online as a means to an end. They’re now seeing there’s much more beyond the finish line.
“I did not have any plans for seeking a higher degree when I first entered the General Studies online program,” Richard says. “That has changed.”
“I’m looking at master’s degrees in healthcare information management, because it will continue to help me in the industry that I’m in,” he says. “Plus, when retirement comes, I love the idea of going back into the classroom to teach.”
In seeing her dad’s drive for his education and career, and in having more options to explore after the General Studies program, Angelique also surprised herself with a fresh desire for graduate school.
“Long term, I plan on following in my dad’s steps by finding and starting down a career path that I enjoy, then pursuing a master’s degree in that field,” she says.
As Fall 2022 commencement nears, Richard is excited about his own accomplishments and his future, but it’s safe to say all emotions are eclipsed by his fatherly pride.
“I believe Angelique discovered she has a more powerful and willful spirit than she had given herself credit for,” he says. “I am so proud of the adult she has become, and I look forward to watching her continue her life’s journey.”
Move forward by earning your bachelor’s degree in general studies from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. We offer six concentrations, 8- and 16-week courses, as well as flat-rate tuition for in-state and out-of-state students.
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