“I didn’t go back because I didn’t think I needed to.”
Coni Pasch is a Global Technology Manager for a Fortune 500 company in Minneapolis, Minn. She received her Bachelor’s in Management and Leadership in 2015 through FlexPath, Capella University’s self-paced learning format.
Pasch’s journey to her degree began differently than many college students. She went to technical college after graduating high school, and was able to steadily advance in her career over the years. Working full-time and raising a family kept her busy, and acquiring a formal education didn’t seem to be an issue with career advancement. However, after 30 years in IT, not having a degree caught up with her.
“I reached a point in my career where I was really excited about looking at that next opportunity. I had been approached internally by another group within my organization and one of the first pieces of feedback after they reviewed my resume was, ‘Where did you go to school? Do you have a degree?’ And I said, ‘No, I don’t.’ And they said, ‘Sorry, we can’t even talk to you without at least an undergraduate degree.’ That was the defining moment for me that sent me back to college.”
So, Pasch returned to school for her bachelor’s degree at 50 years old.
She was in a traditional online program for two years, but was frustrated with the process.
“I really wanted to go faster than that program allowed me to go. Even though I had the convenience of doing it on my own time, it was still very regimented in the fact that the courses were a specified number of weeks, working in a specified way, with a certain number of responses a day.
“Not only did I have my own individual assignments, I also worked on team assignments with other students. My success was based a lot on the success of those other students who were part of my team and were part of that program. The composition of the class was not necessarily always working adults, so quite often, much of my time would be spent helping to mentor and educate those that were part of team assignments, to get assignments completed on time and to get the best grade that we could get.
“It felt like I was waiting for everybody else to catch up and I wanted to just get it done faster than the rest of the class was going.”
Pasch first heard about FlexPath on a TV commercial. Her first thought? It’s too good to be true.
“How can there possibly be a program that would really allow me to focus on what I know to get through an education, and also teach me things that I didn’t know?” I was really surprised that a program like this existed. It felt like it was created just for me.”
Pasch enrolled in FlexPath, and quickly discovered she liked the ability to control her pace, and that she could focus on learning new skills and accelerate through her learning.
“All of the control of this program was in my hands. I had the ability to go as fast or as slow as I wanted. I could work on my classes whenever it was convenient for me. I could take as long as I needed to take or I could finish them up as quickly as I could finish them. It wasn’t regimented by a certain number of weeks, as long as I completed whatever class I started within the quarter.
“The framework of the program is based upon you demonstrating your knowledge in the subject matter that you’re studying. It wasn’t so much about taking a test or checking the box. It was really being able to articulate and demonstrate what you knew and why you knew that, how you knew that.”
And she wasn’t alone. Pasch relied on the FlexPath support system of coaches and faculty to help her be successful.
“The FlexPath coaches were a valuable asset, because there are times you’re going to need to reach out for clarification, to get a better understanding, and to see if you’re on the right path. The faculty gave great feedback on assignments as to where you hit the mark or where you could do things a little bit better, if you want to resubmit an assignment to get closer to the mark.”
Reflecting on her experience, Pasch not only sees earning her degree as a career achievement, but also as a personal achievement.
“I think FlexPath has really given me some great opportunities. The classes really reflected a lot of things that I already knew, helped clarify some things that I didn’t know, and taught me things that I never thought I would ever learn.
“FlexPath opened up my world in that I challenged myself to get this degree and was motivated to finish it, because the only thing standing in the way of my degree was me.
“FlexPath saved my life.”
Interested in accelerated learning? Learn more about FlexPath.