By Dr. Laura Palmer Noone, CEO, University of the Potomac

Ok, I admit it – I have a case of Olympic fever – I refuse to listen to the spoiler alerts so that each day I can watch as the medal counts are tallied.  I want to see the perfect dive or that perfect landing in gymnastics or that bullseye in archery with my own eyes.  It is a thrilling time.  Perhaps the reason for my fascination is that I know I could never be any type of Olympic athlete and I marvel at those who are.

Of course, there is the raw talent, but I do remain convinced that a big part of every successful Olympian is their willingness to develop a training routine and stick to it day in and day out.  That is a great life lesson for us all – make a plan and stick to it.  How many people view getting their degree as being the equivalent of qualifying for and winning the Olympics – the unattainable dream?

Much like the athlete, you need an educational plan – you need to figure out what your goal is and break it down into milestones.  The first milestone might be do some research on what you want – is it a particular job?  Then find out what education level it requires.  Some jobs require an associate’s degree, and some others might require a bachelor’s or even higher.  Next find out what the associated major would be – if you want to be information technology manager, then you should probably steer away from the degree in history.  (History majors – please don’t write to me – I get it.  Your degree has value, but you will have to give me that it wouldn’t be the top choice for most IT professionals…) Your next milestone is to research those schools that offer the degree you need – make a call to the institution, visit their website, etc.

You get the picture – getting your degree might have seemed unattainable, but with the right plan, you take one step at a time and before you know it, your gold medal will look more like a diploma!

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