Since 2017, Christina Loen, a 33-year-old student at Arizona State University, has worked in financial technology, ranging from a customer service representative to a senior workforce analyst. Although they enjoyed their profession, Loen decided to go back to school to pursue her long-term goal of obtaining a bachelor’s degree.
“My sister and I were just talking, and she was talking about going to high school. We finally looked at what ASU had to offer and I said, “You know, yes, maybe I’ll go back and finish my four years,” said Loen, who uses both himself and his deputies; will use. “I saw some of the programs and was really excited and saw a lot of opportunities to move my career even more toward analysis.”
At an early age, Loen and their family moved around a lot, causing them to change schools or take breaks between semesters. They have taken courses at a number of schools, including North Dakota State University, where they studied geology, and Central Arizona College, which in 2016 earned two doctoral degrees in general education and early childhood education.
Loen was surprised to learn that many of the nearly 100 credits they have completed will be donated to the School of Astronomy and Planet Research program of the Earth and Space School through ASU Online. They were involved in this program not only because it matched their lifelong interests in science, geology, and astronomy, but also because it offered them the flexibility they needed as professionals.
“I find myself with an online learning environment that allows me to work and follow school at the same time, “Loen said.” Being in a place where my love for learning has been revived and getting a degree that I’m interested in will improve my skills in the workforce is really exciting. “
Loen hopes to complete her bachelor’s degree in astronomy and planetary sciences by spring 2024 with a minor in sustainability. They talked about their experiences at ASU and what they hope to achieve in the future.
Q: Why was ASU the right choice for you?
Answer: Since I was once a geologist, I have made a lot of progress in this field. There are a lot of work skills to be transferred to this level. Another thing that makes ASU the right choice at this point in my life is that it has so many high quality online programs out there. I’m a busy adult, so I like how ASU appeals to the online community and tries not to overlook online students.
Q: Have you had any problems? If so, how did you overcome them?
A: About two-thirds of my life now I struggle with anxiety and depression. It was also very resistant to treatment. This was definitely a roadblock. I couldn’t get out of it without the support of my family, as well as treatment and medication stability, because sometimes it takes a long time to find a treatment regimen that is right for you. Learning how to ask for help is really hard. We have a myth that when you grow up, you have to do everything yourself, but that’s not entirely true. We are social creatures and we need to help each other.
Q: What advice would you give to incoming students?
A: You have so many resources at your disposal that you don’t even know this school. If you don’t know where to find it, there are consultants for it. They are there to connect you to all of these resources. So, if you are struggling with mental or physical health, there are resources available for this.
I completely gave up my four-year education. It hasn’t been on my radar in four good years. But education is never wasted. Even if you have been in school for a long time, what you have learned before will help you now, and whatever you learn in the future will help you in the future. Sometimes there is a difference between getting a grade and getting an education – you need to know which one is which. I think it’s important for anyone who wants to work and go to school at the same time to remember – it’s to balance academic expectations and get what you need out of the course.
Q: What was your best memory at ASU?
A: I think one of the most interesting things about being part of the School of Earth Studies and space travel is that I received Zoom invitations to watch when the Mars Perseverance rover landed. So, I was forced to find a kind of behind-the-scenes look at it and I thought it was really wonderful to see this event live and feel it with everyone.
Q: What will you be doing in the next 5-10 years?
A: I feel good after graduating from this degree. I think the next big decision is whether I want to go to high school or not, it’s exciting because the real plan was for me to become a paleontologist and I was fine with that. Getting a master’s degree is a job I never thought I would do. I thought I should always live with my parents. I never thought I could keep a full-time job. I never thought it was possible to work and go to school at the same time. Because in the past it was never possible for me. So it’s very strange to think about the future because so many things have happened to me that I never thought it would start. It was a long journey, sometimes painful, but I’m doing really well and the future is very open and exciting.