The job that Brittany Westmoreland loved in high school became the career that led her back to college.
Westmoreland, the marketing coordinator at Currahee Club in Toccoa, Georgia, is enrolled in A-State's Bachelor of Arts in Communication Studies online program. She plans to graduate in December 2018.
"I started at the club as a sales receptionist on weekends," she said. "A marketing position came open, so I took it and worked my way up. When I got the promotion, I said, 'I want to stay here. I definitely want my degree. I have to find something that works with my career, as well.'"
Currahee Club is a private golf course community and country club on Lake Hartwell, just minutes from where Westmoreland was born and raised. The new position and an affinity for advertising and social media steered her toward a communications degree program.
"I loved the things that my bosses were teaching me," she said. "I said, 'Why don't I get something related to marketing?' I didn't know if marketing was exactly what I wanted, but I love communications. I love learning about people. I love working with people. It all just kind of fit together."
Westmoreland hopes the online BA in Communication Studies program and continued work experience will help her advance her career even further.
"I absolutely love it here," Westmoreland said. "I can actually grow with the company that I am at now with my degree."
The Front Nine
Westmoreland initially started college as a nursing major by taking courses while still in high school.
"I struggled finding where I wanted to be for a while," she said. "I always wanted to work, and I wanted to be sure I had a career. I figured out that nursing was not the field that I needed to be in -- it's not for me. I was going to a big university about 45 minutes down the road before I started at Arkansas State. Working full time and attending classes on campus was borderline impossible for me."
Westmoreland knew from that experience that a fully online degree program with an asynchronous format was the way to go for her return to higher education.
"I started searching and found a couple of other schools where tuition rates were through the roof," she said. "Then, I came across Arkansas State. They are accredited and not too expensive. Everything is online. I love the professors. It was a really good fit. I've been here ever since, and I am committed to finishing here."
Even with more work responsibilities than Westmoreland had the first time in college, she finds that the online format fits in well with her schedule.
"It's very convenient," Westmoreland said. "I enjoy the work that I do, which is a huge factor when it comes to going to school online. I've always done a lot of classes online, and that's the format that I've always preferred. It was pretty seamless."
The Back Nine
Westmoreland is thoroughly enjoying the knowledge she is gaining from the online BA in Communication Studies curriculum. Her favorite course, to date, is COMS 4373: Conflict Resolution.
"I absolutely loved it, mostly because it involves very creative thinking," she said. "You determine your own interpretation of the course material. You're learning what you need to learn, but you're also expanding your horizons."
No matter which course Westmoreland takes, she makes sure to apply the information to the real world.
"I implement it on my team every single day, and they think that it's hilarious," she said. "They love it, and I love it."
Westmoreland is also loving the support and accessibility of the A-State faculty members in the online program.
"They are the best about getting back to you quickly," she said. "I have found at Arkansas State that my online professors have been more accommodating and willing to help than my on-campus professors were in the past. That blew my mind."
With graduation day rapidly approaching, Westmoreland is planning a plane trip to Jonesboro to walk the stage to celebrate her accomplishments.
"I have already got more out of the Bachelor of Arts in Communication Studies program than I expected," she said. "You have to have a lot of self-discipline. More than anything, you are going to discover a lot more about yourself than you knew in the first place. Some of the things that I'm learning have helped me grow into a completely different, better person."
Westmoreland, who enjoys exercising and outdoor activities, is happy she found the right career path. Once she has a bachelor's degree to go along with it, the sky is the limit.
"I've always known that I wanted to get a college education after high school -- that's never been in doubt," she said. "It's always been in the works for me. My family and friends said, 'You're going to school and working full time? How are you going to accomplish that?' I said, 'Don't worry about it. I got it.'"
Learn more about the A-State online BA in Communication Studies.