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"Don't give up!"
This advice from UHD undergraduate Paula Doan is her mantra and has served her well in her education. Doan began college more than 25 years ago and has since worked as a waitress, bartender, bank teller, DJ, sales clerk and secretary, but she never gave up on her dream of a college degree.
The first in her family to attend college, Doan will walk across the stage at graduation in December 2012 and plans to pursue a graduate degree in English shortly thereafter.
"I know firsthand the challenges of earning a college degree, and UHD helped me to overcome many of them on my journey to graduation," she says. "The faculty involvement and amazing support I've received from my professors absolutely made the difference for me. With their guidance, I've been able to continue my studies while working and accomplish a life-long dream."
Doan's primary obstacles in obtaining her degree were the high cost of college and her need to continue working as a student. She credits Dagmar Scharold, English professor and director of the UHD Writing and Reading Center (WRC), with helping to pave the way for her success. When Doan arrived at UHD, Scharold gave her a job in the WRC and a year later, promoted her to lead tutor. Doan notes that Scharold "gave her the room to make mistakes and to learn from them," another vital opportunity she found as a Gator.
Along with the affordable tuition, Doan appreciates the hands-on involvement of her UHD professors and the way faculty members challenge her to become her best.
"It would be hard for me to name my most influential professors," she says. "Each one of them challenges me and helps me look at the world in new ways. I feel like my professors are my biggest supporters."
For a student with a long history of postponing and resuming her college degree, Doan is a model for many other working students at UHD. Her focus of study has been early modern literature, a time she notes was full of meta incognita, or unknown destinations. Now that she will become a college graduate in a few months, her own future is far from uncertain. She has the knowledge and confidence to pursue the next step in her education and her dream of becoming an English professor.
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Last updated or reviewed on 10/5/12