Student Voice: Christina Owens Powers Up Her Career Path


After 13 years with a large company in the Financial Services industry, I had gone as far as I could without a degree. The time had come in my professional career to go back to school and finally earn my Bachelor’s Degree.

Throughout my 13 year career, my advancement had been fueled by hard work, dedication, and experience. I was certainly blessed to have been able to advance and promote within my organization to my current Managerial position. But as I looked for new ways to contribute and continue advancing, I could feel the competitive landscape shifting away from my favor. My experience and hard work were not enough anymore. Now I would be competing against others with my same experience PLUS a college degree. It was just too frustrating to think that not having my degree could potentially hold me back from future opportunities. Still, I was hesitant to return to school because it had been over 20 years since I was a student. I had this daunting feeling…will I be able to write a paper or pass a test?

Since my company promotes continuous learning and was willing to invest in my education on my behalf, I suddenly had no reasons left not to pursue my degree and I decided it was time to do something about it. So I enrolled in the Bachelor of Arts online degree program at Patten University.

The flexibility of the online learning model gave me confidence that I could go back to school and still maintain a work/school/life balance. Their debt-free college education philosophy spoke volumes to me. Especially having seen so many of my peers limited to taking one or two classes a year because of the high costs charged by other institutions.

My goal for the future is to be the best contributor to my company. I strongly believe in our mission and who we serve, I want to retire from my company proud of my journey and to know that I made a difference wherever that path might lead me. Patten makes this possible by increasing my professional skills and making it possible for me to finally earn my Bachelor’s Degree. Often times when applying for other positions, that may be lateral moves or promotions, a “preferred” requirement is a Bachelor’s Degree. By obtaining my degree, I won’t have to worry that not having a degree will prevent me from being considered for opportunities I want to shoot for. Additionally, the skills I learn from my courses today can be immediately applied to my job RIGHT NOW.

The biggest piece of advice I offer professionals like me: You can do it! It is that simple.

Yes, it will be a challenge. Yes, you will have frustrations. But keep in mind that you will not make this journey alone. Patten is there every step of the way.  The Instructors are AMAZING and my student Advisor is my biggest advocate. Having a team of people to reach out to with questions and concerns or cheer you on when you pass a test or complete a class makes a big difference in keeping you motivated.

To manage your time, I suggest setting a schedule for yourself and a timeline of when you want to get your work done. You will enjoy achieving the small successes as you work your way through the courses. If I did it, then YOU CAN DO IT!

– Christina Owens | Bachelor of Arts in Psychology