Codi Smith is a 22-year-old college graduate who earned her degree from the comfort of her home. There are many of us out there who never really thought of this idea – staying at home for college (me included) – but for Codi, it was ideal. She attended Park Hill South High School and participated in its A+ program, so she had two free years (not including books and lab fees) at the local Community College, Maple Woods. Codi said she really likes Kansas City and had no intention of leaving. So, while all the kids around her in her graduating class were rushing to leave their hometown, she was soaking in the pleasure of home-cooked meals and the luxury of showering without shoes on.
Codi started her college journey in the fall of 2013. She chose to work throughout her college years to help with payments and other expenses and, when asked if working while taking classes made it harder, she answered with a definitive YES. She really had to learn how to manage her time while working an average of 40 hours a week (sometimes closer to 50), attending college, and even taking night classes for awhile. Although she was lucky enough to be able to take all online classes at the end, it was admittedly rough for a while. Clearly dedicated to earning a degree while holding down a job, Codi said that it was juggling act for sure, but that it all helped her in the long run. She saw no rush in graduating, which is much different from the college and high school students who tend to count down the days until graduation. “A degree is a degree no matter how long it takes,” she explains.
For Codi, taking her time was what she saw best for herself, and it sure seemed to pay off. When she began working full-time, college kind of took the back seat and, for a few semesters, she only took six or eight credit hours as opposed to the average of 12 to 16. For someone who was entering her twenties and looking to begin a career, she was surprisingly relaxed about the time it would take her to accomplish her goals.
Despite the struggles she faced during the long process, Codi was happy with the education that she received and how it helped her with her career. Codi admitted that it was actually kind of nice taking classes and working at the same time. She got to see all the things that she was learning about in a classroom right away in real life, and she was able to get hands-on experience immediately. Codi said that there were many times when she would be at work and her boss would show her something and think, “Hey we just went over this in class yesterday!” or vice versa where she would learn something new at work before even learning about it in class. Overall, she believes it helped her gain a better understanding of what she was going to be doing post-college.
Codi was able to put her degree to use right away as a Billing Specialist at Velociti Inc. To many people, Codi’s journey toward meeting her goals and obtaining the career she wanted may seem out of the ordinary, but everyone’s journey is different; it’s all about finding what is right for you. After all was said and done, she learned that you should always do what you want and do what you think would be best for you. She was confident in her decision to stay here, go to community college, and get a job. In the long run, Codi realized that a degree is a degree, no matter where you went or how much your tuition was.