Alumni News

December 1, 2020 at 11:57 am

2020 Graduate | Hawthorn Powers through Work, Motherhood and Online Degree

Carrie Hawthorn , portrait

Carrie Hawthorn

Carrie Hawthorn ’20 is graduating in December with a bachelor’s degree—an accomplishment made possible by her tenacity and passion and Ohio University’s online psychology degree.

“It feels like it has been a long journey to get to this point, but I am so excited that I will, at least, have my bachelor’s now!” says Hawthorn, a working mother.

“As every semester has gone by and I have proven to myself that I can do it, my confidence has grown! I was a big ball of doubt when I started college, but as time passed my confidence has grown. Just working hard at my classes, figuring out what does and does not work when it comes to studying, has all helped me to build myself up and realize that I can succeed.”

Q: Did you start on campus and then finish online? How did the online option help you?

I received my associate’s from Southern State and then started attending the OHIO Chillicothe Campus in 2017. However, being a working mother, it ended being difficult to fit some of my required classes in on days that would work with my schedule. The e-campus program has been amazing in that it offers flexibility and has really been a blessing. I cannot say enough good things about the online program and classes!

Q: What stands out in your mind as you think about graduating despite COVID?

I know that things are hard for everyone right now. These are difficult times to adjust to, and it makes me realize how unpredictable life can be. However, I have been fortunate that I been able to continue working through the pandemic, as well as continuing with my education. I am incredibly grateful that, although times are trying, that I still have so much to be thankful for.

Q: What are your next steps/future plans?

Right now I am exploring my options, and that includes looking at some of the graduate schools in the area. I am really interested in learning more about mental health and have for a while thought that pursuing a degree in clinical counseling would be a good way to open doors for me. I feel that this could eventually lead to me being able to help people and make a difference in their lives.

Q: Who were your favorite professors and how did they make an impact on your life? 

I have had so many great professors that it is hard to pinpoint just a couple, without feeling like I am cheating the others! One of the things that I have most appreciated about many of my teachers was their passion and willingness to assist their students! I love when I can tell a teacher really believes in what they are teaching, and really wants to help their students to succeed. This is a valuable lesson because, although I know they are working hard, they love what they do—and how much more can you ask of life? This really instills in me the need to find out what I am passionate about and then pursue it. When you love your job, others can tell.

Q:  What was the hardest hill you had to climb at OHIO? And how did you overcome challenges or obstacles in your path?

The hardest hill for me has been balancing life and sometimes unexpected obstacles while pursuing a degree. I am a working mother, and that alone can provide some challenges. You never want to feel that you are not giving your best to your child, and school takes time and energy. But when I think about why I am pursuing my education, to be a good example to her, then it puts things in perspective. I also have asthma, which has caused a lot of issues with lack of sleep and my health at times, and last year at this time I was hospitalized with pneumonia. I had Thanksgiving from a hospital bed! But my stubbornness, paired with the best teachers who worked with me during that difficult time, really helped me to stay on track.

Q: What are your favorite OHIO memories?

Some of my favorite memories were when I attended class on the campus, and I would sometimes stay after class and talk with some of my teachers. Some of my teachers were such an inspiration and wealth of knowledge. I liked getting to know them better, I have met so many good examples. Especially for me as a woman, I have met a lot of women who were good role models that I admire.

Q: What’s the one thing you would tell a new OHIO student not to miss? 

One piece of advice is to be in the moment and enjoy your classes! Do not take this opportunity of learning for granted, learn all that you can and really apply yourself. I know that most students are obviously going to college to find a better job or to do something that they are passionate about, but enjoy the journey getting there.

My second thing I would tell someone is that if you are struggling or just have questions, reach out! Reach out to your teachers, advisers, or even the tutoring program. There is no shame in asking for help! OHIO has some of the best advisers. I do not know what I would have done if I had not had the wonderful advisers to answer questions and give advice while trying to adjust to online learning and figuring out my next steps. They were so encouraging and helpful!

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