Five years ago, the idea of returning to school was one that Deborah Prescott never contemplated. However, now that she has earned a graduate degree from Excelsior College in Liberal Studies, she has no plans to pull the brakes on her educational ride.
After being laid off four years ago, she accepted a customer service representative position with a large insurance company, in what she describes as a lateral career move. She wanted something more and knew education held the pathway. What she didn’t know though, was what she would discover at Excelsior College once she was there.
“I had a positive experience with Excelsior, and I felt like I got to know myself better,” said Prescott. “I discovered an interest in cultural studies and sociology… I am in the beginning stages of exploring a more meaningful career path. …something where I can make a difference.”
Prescott is optimistic today about her future, but the fear she experienced when she first enrolled in Excelsior was real. She knew a traditional brick-and-mortar school was out of the question due to her busy schedule, but wasn’t familiar with the distance learning model. She assumed she would be on her own.
“I thought online meant ‘by yourself,’” said Prescott. “But it was an online community…I felt supported by professors, other students.”
Some of the challenges though, took on a more personal nature.
“Going back to school after twenty years,” Prescott reflected, when asked of the main challenges to overcome. “But the online environment helped me ease the transition back mentally and let me focus on something other than my 9-5 job.”
Her friends were there for her along the way, helping her through the college process. They knew how much an advanced degree meant and provided her the support she needed when studies took her away on nights and weekend.
Those same friends will be in attendance at Commencement this July, alongside Prescott’s sister and family, as she walks across stage, diploma in hand.
“I’m ready to do something more rewarding.”
Name: Deborah Prescott
Position: Financial Representative
Degree: Master of Arts in Liberal Studies, 2013
Hometown: Waterford, NY