Student Stories

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Kelly D.
Workforce and Program Development, University of West Florida

Kelly is 50 years old and lives in Orlando.

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She graduated May 3 from the University of West Florida with a bachelor’s degree in Workforce and Program Development. That same day, her daughter graduated from UWF with a degree in Sports Management, and her son finished at UWF with a Hospitality degree.

“We are renting a house in Pensacola, and we are having a huge party with our extended family… aunts, uncles, cousins, everybody,” Kelly said. "This is definitely a family thing. I can't thank my husband and parents enough for all their love and support."

Kelly and her husband have two other children besides the two who are graduating from UWF, and she works full time for a financial company where she does customer service and client interactions.

“I think my professional life has enriched my experience returning to college,” Kelly said. “You bring a different perspective to things when you have lived life, especially the classes required for my major.”

After completing her degree, Kelly hopes to move into client-based training in her current company or to pursue other options related to education and training. “Now, I will have a degree to go along with my work accomplishments, and so many more doors will be open for me.”

Kelly said the hardest adjustment of working and attending school at the same time was, obviously, time management. She said without the flexibility of online classes, it would not have been possible for her to complete her bachelor’s degree.

“You have to know yourself and plan when you are going to do things,” she said. “Schedule your school work and tell yourself it’s not optional. You have got to commit to whatever is necessary to get it done. You might miss out on a day at the beach right now, but it’s worth it in the long run.”

Kelly, who was the recipient of a Complete Florida scholarship, wrote this in her application essay: “This is the last semester, and I am so appreciative of the assistance I have received for the last three semesters. I started college right out of high school in 1985 and received my AA degree but never completed my bachelor’s degree and left school. I have a very busy life and everyone thought I was crazy to try to slip in being a full-time student but I’ve done it! I have finished six semesters at the University of West Florida with a GPA of 3.4 … This scholarship has not only helped me financially, it has helped me show my children that it’s never too late. If I can do it, they can do it… and they are.”


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