Shannon Westerman was selected as the Grand Winner in the “Share Your Story” Essay Contest. This is her winning submission:
According to my home state, I was a two-time loser. This means that I had been to prison twice. My second time in prison was my motivation to change. But when I entered the work force, there was nothing there for me. Due to my criminal history, the job experience I had was no longer applicable. It was at that time that my husband and I decided to go into business for ourselves.
We did manage to get it off the ground initially. Once we had been in business for a small amount of time, we discovered that there was so much that we did not know in relation to the management of the business and because of this, we decided that one of us needed to go to school. I was the one voted for that privilege.
Going back to school after twenty years is extremely hard; going back to school with my history is even more so. I remember realizing the hours I was going to have to put in and thinking that I had no clue how I was going to accomplish it. I realized that to do this, my husband and I were about to give up a lot. We not only had to work on remodeling sites every day, we had to come home and do the paperwork at night. This meant that if I wanted to get my class work done, I had to get up at three in the morning, six days a week, to get it done. There were times that I thought I was going to fall over with exhaustion. We also gave up any and all social life that we had. Gone were the days of barbecues with friends and family or having dinners out.
Although we gave up so much for my education, it was worth it. With each and every class that I took, I found information that was directly relevant to managing my business and I implemented what I learned as I went along.
Life before school was extremely hard. Life now is not nearly as hard. My business is growing and flourishing. This comes from not only the hard work of my employees but also from the education that I received in my classes. In addition to my business, these classes have also opened up a whole new career field for me. As of now, I am still doing the paperwork side of the business and my husband is handling the job sites. This allows me to look for other work.
The Business Management with emphasis on Property Management degree has opened up other career fields that were not open to me before—in spite of the criminal history that I have. Having this degree has shown others that not only am I reformed, I also have what it takes to not only do a job, but to take that job to a whole new level. I have proven that not only can I work forty to fifty hours a week, but that I can also maintain a minimum of a 3.80 GPA while doing it, and this is by no means a small feat.
At this point in time, I am in round two of the interview process for a property management department. I will be testing for my CPPS soon through the National Property Management Association. My goal is to not only be instrumental in developing my business but to also enter a career field that will build my income base. This time for me is the best time of my life, the sky is the limit and it would not have been possible without the education I received at Stevens-Henager.
Shannon Westerman was selected as the Grand Winner in the “Share Your Story” Essay Contest. She is a student in the Online department of Stevens-Henager College earning her Associate of Applied Science in Business Management and Accounting with an emphasis in Property Management.
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