In 2007 native New Yorker Jasmin S. Bush, (Jazz), now 31, decided to literally make a major move in her life and packed her bags, left her Brooklyn birthplace, and headed for the warmer climes of Atlanta, Georgia. Armed with a cushy ‘nest egg’ of savings and a solid plan, she kissed her mother good-bye and set out to embrace new goals in a new place. One of her major priorities was to raise her undergrad associate’s (marketing) degree, earned 2003 in New York, to an even higher academic level.
Implementing the first part of her plan she went on an exhaustive job search and finally landed her first job there as a human resources specialist at a private Atlanta bus company. Working there for almost two years and building up her portfolio, she found her current job as human resources manager at a high-end security firm at the Atlanta Financial Center where she works full-time. To her dismay, however, she learned the South has no unions. But her dream to get a higher education persisted.
“I wanted to work and also complete school,” she says. “And a family member mentioned to me that she was completing graduate courses (on-line) at Strayer University,
“I wanted to make more money and complete my education. Atlanta has opportunities so I wanted to be prepared. I wanted to pursue a career in human resources.” Strayer University was founded in 1892 and is now located in Arlington, Virginia. The school today has more than 54,000 students enrolled in over 80 campuses in 17 states and the District of Columbia, including on-line programs.
On-line or ‘distance’ education is a growing trend that has taken over the nation according to studies done by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. In one recent study, “Online Nation: Five Years of Growth in Online Learning,” it is reported that almost 3.5 million students were taking an online course in the fall of 2006 and rates are still climbing. There are thousands of courses and institutions available on-line; including several historically Black colleges & universities.
Bush opted for Strayer University online in 2008 taking a full course load while working eight-hour days. She explains, “I took two classes per week. I ordered my books through the on-line book store. I spent at least four hours a week on homework reading and took quizzes and midterms. Strayer offers tutoring on-line and if you need further help, you can take a course at the actual college in your town. For on-line classes you must log in and go to each class. You will have a weekly schedule and an instructor will speak to you personally.”
The former New Yorker cites that she herself went to the on-site Cobb Campus in her area for help in her math /statistics course. “The Strayer campus building is a modern building 15 minutes from my house,” she reveals. “They have great instructors on and off-line.” The best and worst part about online learning she’s asked? “The flexibility is great,” she answers, and would highly recommend the schooling model. The down side? “I had to take out a loan to pay my on-line tuition. It is very expensive (as much as traditional college).” She is still very concerned about the looming bill and how payments will be arranged.
In 2009 she happily wed Savannah-born commercial artist and businessman Paul Bush, Jr. (www.myspace.com/paulsairbrushart). They’re now comfortably settled into their own home in the quaint suburb of Smyrna and both working on tight schedules. Jazz recently graduated successfully from Strayer with a Bachelor’s of Business Administration degree!
“I can pick it up on-campus or it can be mailed after finishing exiting paper work,” she says. Bush also has the option of “walking” in the spring Ceremony if she wishes. She credits her husband Paul with “giving me quiet time to work.” She also says she’s considering the continuation of her quest for higher education, but adds thoughtfully, “I may go on but this time I will take on – campus courses with an on-line mix.”