Returning to School as an Adult

By Julie Kraft, Vice President of Educators United

There are moments in life that make such an impact, they change the trajectory of your life forever. For me, that moment happened at a typical family dinner with my mom, my three siblings and our spouses. The conversation we had left such an impression that I think about it all the time. Growing up we always talked about our dreams for the future, we shared our deepest hopes and desires. That night, we were reminiscing on our childhood dreams and comparing them with where we ended up. We were all successful in our own ways, but none of us had the careers we dreamed of having.

I had an established career in the financial industry. My husband and I had just had our first child, we built a home and a stable life together. Life was good. At least, that was my perspective and I held fast to the idea that I did not need to go back to school. I came up with every excuse I could think of.

Then it happened. My little brother challenged me. He slapped me in the face with wisdom I never even knew he possessed.

He said, “Julie, you have worked ten years in a job you don’t even like. Imagine how well you would do in a career you love. You still have 30 years to work before you retire. Do you want to spend it doing what you’re doing now, or do you want to pursue your passion and have the best 30 years of your life?”

It left me speechless. He was right. That is all it took. My decision was made. I was IN.

The four of us made a pact, right then, right there. We were all going to make new goals to go back to school. We would study together and support each other through all of it.

I began researching colleges right away. When I found National University, I knew it was the right fit for my lifestyle. My chosen program offered online classes with a four-week platform. The flexible schedules meant I could complete the course work around my work schedule and home life. The expedited classes would enable me to finish my degree quickly.

I spent the next two years working full time, going to school full time, and taking care of my family (Check out my blog post “Overcoming Anxiety: Self-Care, Sleep, SilverCloud” to hear more about how I balanced all this). I woke up at 5am daily to study, worked my job from 8am – 4:30pm and completed assignments in the afternoon or after my daughter went to bed. I focused on the end goal and kept moving along. One day and one class at a time, I would get there. And I DID.

I received my Bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood Education, graduating as an NU Scholar with the Magna Cum Laude designation.

I am a first-generation college graduate. The pride and accomplishment I have from reaching this goal outweighs all the work it took to get there. My siblings are currently working toward their goals, as well. It all started with a conversation and a pact we made to strive for our dreams.

I am currently working on getting credentialed and obtaining a Master’s degree. My brother’s words have echoed in my mind at every turn. I learned new ways of managing stress, effectively managing my time, and prioritizing my goals. I learned so much about myself throughout this process and I am so happy with who I have become… a first-generation graduate, a role model for my daughter, the Vice President of a student organization, and an aspiring teacher.

If you have read this far, maybe you are considering furthering your education, changing careers or maybe you feel stuck (like I did not long ago). I encourage you to take the leap. It may be scary and intimidating, but trust me, it is worth it. Throw the excuses aside and take the leap, it may be the best thing you’ll ever do for yourself… it was for me.


Happy Independence Day!

Happy Independence Day! After a long and difficult year, many of us are finding July 4th to be an especially meaningful opportunity to reflect on what independence means to us.

For Jacqueline Moreno, President of the Mind-Body Wellness Student Organization at National University, Independence Day is all about the balance between freedom and respect:

For Sonia Soto – from the Student Veteran Organization– in NU’s Strategic Communications program, Independence Day means:

And for Tania Bogart – President of Educator’s United Student Organization, military spouse, mother, student, and cancer survivor – Independence Day holds many meanings:

“For many, Independence day represents freedoms and rights that are put forth for the American people, and in many ways, acknowledging the privileges that we have as a great nation often puts into perspective how lucky we truly are. As a military spouse, Independence day represents my husband fighting for these freedoms and making sacrifices every day. As a mother, it represents the ability to give my children a bright future with any possibility that they put their minds to. As a student, this day represents the ability to receive a degree as a woman, something many others in the world are unable to do. And as a cancer survivor, this day represents the ability to receive world-class medical care. We have so much to be thankful for as a nation. Being able to celebrate health, happiness, prosperity, and freedom is something that I value and I am proud to be an American.”

For members of our San Diego Community, The Big Bay Boom fireworks at the San Diego Bay are currently scheduled to take place. Be sure to listen in on the musical simulcast at 101.5 KGB! Or watch from the comfort and safety of your own home here:

For those not looking to go out, some of our favorite socially distant options include:

  • Watch Nathan’s Famous Hot Dog-Eating Contest – Live on ESPN. Cheer on your favorite competitive eater while enjoying some grilled favorites of your own! Although this year’s contest is being held at an undisclosed location, you can bring the Coney Island spirit with this classic Coney Island Hot Dog recipe.
  • Tour one of our beautiful National Parks. The National Park Service offers diverse live streams of many national parks, from waterfalls and geysers to bears and birds.
  • Immerse yourself in history with the National Archives. Great for kids – click here to download the accompanying activity kit. The National Archive is offering a full day of educational activities, complete with actors portraying historical figures like Thomas Jefferson, Martha Washington, and Ned Hector (a Black soldier who fought for the Continental Army). The highlight of the day will be a dramatic reading of the Declaration of Independence. Registration is free, with optional donations to support the great work of the National Archives Foundation.