Recent transfer student has big plans because of AlamoONLINE

July 19, 2021

Hannah Cole has big dreams! She plans on earning a Bachelor of Science in Child Development with a Child Life emphasis and then her master’s degree online. Her goal is to become a certified child life specialist (CCLS), and her decision to pursue an associate’s degree at Northeast Lakeview College is one of many essential steps on her journey.

“My ultimate [dream] job is to be a child life specialist. I would work in the hospital, and I would use play therapy to help children during the time they are in the hospital, which is often an extended amount of time. Using play helps kids heal faster. [...] I’d be forming relationships with long-term patients, whether that’s months or years.”

Hannah’s interest in helping children started years ago. She explains, “I had a childhood friend who was diagnosed with leukemia, and she mentioned how great her child life specialist was and how she really helped her get through some of the tough periods. [My friend] was in the hospital during holidays as well, so the child life specialist was able to help her decorate her room and make it feel more home-like.”

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After hearing that impactful story, Hannah knew she too wanted to be a child life specialist. In order to achieve that goal, she enrolled in college as a fully online student so that she could maintain her work schedule.

“[Online learning] has allowed me to be very flexible and work at the job I love. Currently I work at Lighthouse Learning Center as a child care provider. It is a childcare facility with an educational purpose. I work with five and six-year olds, preparing them for pre-K as well as kindergarten.” Childcare can be a demanding field with inflexible hours, making traditional learning difficult. Hannah states,

“With such odd hours, [attending school] online allowed me to apply for jobs and then be hired because I actually had the majority of the day hours open [to work].”

For Hannah, online learning at Northeast Lakeview College felt like a natural fit. She could start her degree while remaining near her family, which was essential to her. Equally important, however, was the college support she received as an online student. She shares, “I feel like the resources have been readily available to me if I have a problem. It [was] very easy to call someone, get an answer, and fix the problem.” With such efficient support, Hannah could focus her energy on successfully completing her coursework.

“[Northeast Lakeview College] is giving me experience in higher-level courses. …[They] have obviously provided me with the necessary credits to transfer and at a lower tuition cost, which was very beneficial, and it has also boosted my confidence to know that I can succeed at a university.”

Earning a college degree can seem intimidating at first. One way Hannah stays on track is by remembering why she started her academic journey in the first place.

“I’ve always loved working with children. [Becoming a child life specialist] was kind of the best of both worlds—being able to work with children, but also helping to benefit children who we don't really think of often. Unless you have a child in the hospital, you don't really think of all the children that are stuck in hospitals for months on end.”

Online learning has made it possible for Hannah to keep a job she enjoys while preparing to enter a field she loves. She is well on her way to making her dream come true, and it all started with AlamoONLINE.

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AlamoONLINE represents the range of opportunities for students pursuing degrees, certificates, or other offerings delivered 100% online from Northeast Lakeview College, Northwest Vista College, Palo Alto College, San Antonio College, and St. Philip’s College.

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