World Campus helped full-time mom, employee and student find the right balance

October 01, 2019

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — In 2016, Bev Reynolds was a mom to two daughters — aged 22 and 14 — living in Florida, and working full-time without a college degree.

Years earlier, she had attempted to earn a degree in science, and was unsuccessful.

“I struggled for quite a while to complete my degree. At the time, I was a young mother on my own, working multiple jobs, and it was just not working. It was an epic fail, actually,” Reynolds said. “It depleted my finances and my confidence, and I finally had to defer my education to focus on being the best mom I could, knowing that sometime in the future I could resume my academic goals.”

Bev Reynolds at her graduation ceremony.

Bev Reynolds at her Penn State commencement ceremony at University Park. Reynolds graduated with a degree in biobehavioral health from Penn State World Campus.

IMAGE: Bev Reynolds

Reynolds wanted to continue her degree in a traditional, on-campus program, but she struggled to find one that allowed for the flexibility to balance life as a mom, student and full-time employee.

One of her daughters suggested she look at a degree program online, but Reynolds was hesitant.

“Online programs just weren’t reputable back in the ’90s. People made fun of online degrees," she said. "But things have changed so much, and as I did my research, I found an online program through Penn State World Campus that would challenge me and meet my longtime career goals.”

Reynolds graduated with a bachelor’s degree in biobehavioral health and a minor in human development and family studies in May. She recently moved to Pennsylvania to start a post-baccalaureate, pre-health program at the University of Pennsylvania to prepare for the MCATs and medical school.

“As a student, they [the World Campus instructors] made me feel really valuable and respected. They are the epitome of what instructors should be, whether on a physical campus or a virtual one. They really take the time to engage with students, especially those who are willing to engage back.”

— Bev Reynolds, Penn State World Campus graduate

For Reynolds, Penn State World Campus allowed her to strike a perfect balance in her life.

“I could work at my job all day, be a great mom, then come home and turn on my computer to do my school work,” said Reynolds, who started a job as a project manager for a specialty pharmacy at the same time she started her degree online. “I felt so challenged and it increased my confidence. By the second semester, I started to make goals toward putting my best foot forward and graduating with distinction.”

“I also really loved that I could coordinate my major and job role,” she continued. “Sometimes what we were studying in class related to my job, and I could go to work and apply my education immediately.”

Bev Reynolds with her daughters.

Bev Reynolds' two daughters are a source of inspiration to her and encouraged her to pursue her degree online.

IMAGE: Bev Reynolds

Reynolds particularly appreciated the efforts that World Campus instructors made to engage with individual students and make themselves and the course content accessible.

“As a student, they made me feel really valuable and respected. They are the epitome of what instructors should be, whether on a physical campus or a virtual one,” she said. “They really take the time to engage with students, especially those who are willing to engage back.”

Taking initiative from the start was an important part of Reynolds’ success. As she pursued her education remotely, she made extra efforts to reach out to her instructors and engage with the content, to make the most of the online platform. Because this time, she didn’t want to mess it up.

“At 18 or 20, I was a mess. I had this beautiful opportunity to go to school, but I screwed it up,” she said. “It took me a long time to get it together, but I’m grateful for programs like Penn State World Campus who offer people like me the opportunity to get it right. I’m proud of the degree I earned, because I know I worked hard for it.”

Reynolds credits World Campus with giving her a new-found sense of confidence to propel her into the next phase of her life and education.

“I want to be an inspiration to others — especially single moms, but really anyone who has struggled or failed in their past — to show that it’s never too late."

—Bev Reynolds

While she is settling in after her move to Pennsylvania and completing her post-baccalaureate program at the University of Pennsylvania, she will continue her full-time job at the specialty pharmacy and support her daughters, one of whom is now a junior in high school and the other a recent master’s graduate from Georgetown University. But these new transitions don’t intimidate her.

“I want to be an inspiration to others — especially single moms, but really anyone who has struggled or failed in their past — to show that it’s never too late," she said. "I’m not young, but I’m doing it now, and I’m grateful to programs like Penn State World Campus that allowed me to do it and find my confidence in the process.”

Visit the Penn State World Campus website for more information about the bachelor’s degree in biobehavioral health.

(Media Contacts)

Last Updated October 02, 2019