Online learning is often touted as “flexible” and “convenient,” which are both true, but what’s often lost in translation is the real-life need for this delivery of education.
Meet Carrie Spaziano-Charello. When she’s not working full-time in a management role in the banking industry, she is a wife and a mother of a two-year-old daughter. She realized that in order to move forward professionally, it was necessary that she complete her bachelor’s degree; however, quitting her successful career was not an option and attending class at night or on the weekends was possible but would require valuable time away from her family.
Suddenly, “flexible” and “convenient” come into focus.
Carrie found the solution she was looking for at the Johnson & Wales University College of Online Education, and she completed her BS – Business Studies in August 2016.
Here are her strategies and path to success:
Why did you decide to pursue your degree?
My daughter was my main motivation to pursue my degree, I wanted to show her that she could do anything she set out to do, and I wanted to be successful in my career for her. Being in the banking industry for 15 years, I knew that regardless of your experience, it is important to have a bachelor’s degree to truly find success in the future. I stalled for many years as I was finding my own success within my current role, but my manager at the time talked to me about my future with the company and where I wanted to go and how I was going to get there. I realized that I needed to increase my knowledge of the entire financial industry to be well rounded, set myself up for the future, and be successful for my daughter.
Why was JWU College of Online Education a good fit for you?
JWU Online was a great fit for me because of the flexibility that the classes gave me. I can do schoolwork after my daughter is in bed, and I am still available if my employees need me instead of being in a classroom. I had received my associate degree more than 10 years ago from Johnson & Wales Providence campus. I had such a great learning experience and the professors were so amazing that JWU Online was my first and only choice when I decided to pursue a degree online.
You balance a career with your college studies. Can you describe your job and responsibilities?
Currently, I work full-time as a bank manager. I manage the day-to-day operations and sales of my branch. I have a staff of 10 employees — tellers and bankers whom I work with to coach, develop, and train in their current roles in the bank.
What would you like to tell others about online learning?
Online learning takes a lot more time and dedication than going to a class in person at a campus. You need to be committed and make the time daily/weekly to work on your coursework. The flexibility to work at your own time is convenient, as long as you commit yourself to dedicated time for your class.
What strategies do you use to balance work, family, and school?
Balancing family/work/school can be a struggle, but I plan my week based on my workload. I have ‘scheduled’ homework time, sometimes it’s scheduled on my calendar at 10pm, other times it is 4am. I always have my laptop and school materials with me, and if I’m somewhere waiting for an appointment or have some time on a lunch break I’ll study then.
I’ve made a point to have scheduled time with my husband — even if it’s for a half an hour to go get a cup of coffee, it’s important to spend time together. My daughter and time with her is my priority, that’s why online works so well. I can accomplish most of what needs to be done after she goes to bed or before she gets up. There have been nights where she should have been in bed, and I should have been studying, but when your two-year-old wants to sit on your lap and for you to read her a book over and over again, reading bedtime stories wins over reading your strategic management book! You do what you need to. It isn’t easy, but I wanted to do this for myself and my family.
What advice would you give to other parents who are thinking about returning to school?
The advice I would give to parents who are thinking about returning to school is to make a schedule and stay organized. Give yourself blocked-off time for school, even if it’s late at night or early in the morning, but make sure you have time for your family, they are your priority. If you are committed to school, you will find the time and you can make it happen. It’s a challenge, but worth it.
For more information on pursuing your undergraduate or graduate degree at Johnson & Wales University College of Online Education, complete the “Request Info” form on this page or call 855-JWU-1881 or email [email protected].