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Family, college and opportunity: Samantha’s Purdue Global comeback

As she finishes up her bachelor’s degree, Samantha Tatman reflects on her journey and is looking forward to finding out what’s next.

As she finishes up her bachelor’s degree, Samantha Tatman reflects on her journey and is looking forward to finding out what’s next.

This mom is excited to see where her bachelor’s degree in business administration will take her

In her final term at Purdue Global, Samantha Tatman looks back on the past few years and says it’s an era she never saw coming. But knowing she’s created opportunities for her family has been everything to her. 

Tatman went to community college after high school, but since she and her husband were starting a family, it was clear early on that she’d have to make some sacrifices. She decided she needed to take a break from higher education. “My husband was in an apprenticeship, and we just couldn’t do both at the same time,” she says. 

As a young parent, she knew it was best for her family that she went straight into the workforce while her husband finished his apprenticeship. She thought that was the end of her educational journey. 

But she was wrong. 

The journey back to school 

As a working mom with two kids, dogs and endless activities, the prospect of going back to school 12 years after leaving community college felt overwhelming. It was her husband who convinced her that it was her time. 

He’d completed his lineman apprenticeship, around 7,000 hours of an intensive, hands-on education that taught him to build and maintain electrical power systems. When he got his qualifications after years of hard work, he knew she could make her own comeback. 

“He said, ‘It’s your turn. You need to have this good feeling too.’ He’s my biggest cheerleader. One hundred percent.” 

Tatman already had a job in health care, so at first she struggled to see the merit in earning a degree. But she gradually began to see things differently. 

She realized a degree in business administration could open doors for her. She had worked in multiple health care positions, but she liked the thought of having a steppingstone to other opportunities. She wouldn’t be limited to direct care. She could move up to administration. And if she wanted to leave health care entirely, it would still be possible to advance. 

Without a degree, her past experience wouldn’t be enough to make a move like that possible. So, with a major in mind, she only had one more thing to figure out: finding the right school. 

Choosing the right path 

Tatman had several institutions on her list when she first started looking. But Purdue Global quickly rose to the top because she immediately had a sense that the admissions counselors cared. They went the extra mile in connecting with her and making her feel welcome. 

“They want what’s best for you,” Tatman says. “I feel like everybody I’ve talked to at Purdue Global cares about me. That’s what made me choose Purdue Global.” 

Her advisor made a difference from the start, making sure all of Tatman’s questions were answered and that she filled out the correct paperwork. 

When it was time to begin mapping out her classes, she thought she would pursue the standard path to an associate degree. But her advisor believed she was capable of more and told her the ExcelTrack bachelor’s degree program would take her further. Since she already had credits from her community college, a bachelor’s degree was more attainable than she thought. 

With ExcelTrack, students combine their college credit and professional experience with an accelerated course schedule and customize their program to earn a degree faster. But could she really earn a bachelor’s degree on an accelerated program? 

With her husband, family and Purdue Global advisors supporting her, Tatman only needed to convince one more person — herself. 

The more she looked at the facts, her hesitance completely changed. “After I got going with it,” she says, “I’m so glad. I’m so glad that I pushed myself.” 

She loves how, even on an accelerated track, her degree program doesn’t overwhelm her or take time away from her family. With her kids’ sports, piano lessons and cheerleading, she wondered how she would balance everything, but she has been pleased by how she’s been able to manage all her commitments. 

“I have this self-discipline, and that really helps with my schooling. I can do homework anytime, anywhere. I love that flexibility,” she says. “Ninety-nine percent of the time, I do my homework in between commitments, or I do it at night while everyone’s in bed.” 

Even when life doesn’t go as planned, Tatman is thankful for the people around her. “I’m the one doing the work and getting this done, but it does take a support system. There are times when I’ll call my mom and ask her to take the kids for a few hours. My kids are even very understanding. They know, OK, it’s homework time, and I can work on my assignments.” 

An unexpected benefit to pursuing her degree has been the opportunity to teach an important lesson to the people she loves most. 

“The biggest thing is showing my kids, if you put your mind to something, you can do literally anything that you want,” she says.  

Graduation and beyond 

With her degree nearing completion, Tatman reflects on how her experience has been important to her own personal journey, not just her family’s. When asked about her upcoming graduation, her smile grows bigger and brighter. 

“I know I’ll be very proud. I’ll honestly probably cry,” she says. “I already feel proud of myself, just by going back and making the commitment to do this. Being 30 years old, I feel like it’s my time to do something for myself.” 

Ultimately, she is happy she followed her husband’s advice and proved herself wrong. “Some people might think it’s silly to go back to school when you are an adult with a family, but if you want that for yourself, or if you want it for your family to see you have a drive for something, I think you should absolutely do it. It will be very rewarding,” she says. 

She is more than excited to see where her business administration degree from Purdue Global will take her. “It can lead me anywhere,” she says. “I just have to decide.” 

I’m so glad that I pushed myself.

Samantha Tatman BS business administration, Purdue Global