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March 15, 2019 : Despite moving across the country, student becomes a Bobcat online with Ohio University Lancaster

by Sarah Shy


Amanda Southern never imagined the journey she would take in her college education. Southern has been living in various states, attending different colleges in pursuit of her bachelor’s degree. Her husband is an active-duty airman in the United States Air Force. They have lived in various states depending on where her husband would be stationed. While she followed him through his military career, she has worked diligently towards achieving her degree.


“We have lived in several towns and it seems that I have sampled the colleges and universities in each of them.” Southern said.


The oldest of seven siblings, Southern grew up playing softball and basketball and always enjoyed school. “I always earned good grades and assumed I would go off to college and find my success.” she said.


Upon graduating Pickerington North High School, she decided to become a Middle Childhood Education Major and attend another university in the autumn of 2006. She completed over two years of her education before her husband asked her to move to Delaware, where he was stationed.


“Being young and naïve, I agreed without looking into colleges there to see what would transfer. Many classes transferred, but the majors did not align with the technical college I transferred to.” Southern said.


After changing her major a couple times, Southern completed her Associate’s in Elementary Education at Delaware Technical and Community College in the spring of 2013.  She then attended Wilmington University—also in Delaware—planning to complete her bachelor’s degree. Shortly after enrolling in classes, her husband received orders to be stationed at Panama City, Florida. Not long after the move, they found out they were expecting their first child. Her education would have to wait.


Ohio University Lancaster’s online classes are helping Southern reach her goal of graduating. “I started checking out OHIO’s website. I found it had an online-degree completion program for those who have previously earned an associate degree.” She said.


Southern did a little research and found out that many of her previously taken courses lined up with the Applied Communications degree program. She decided to reach out to an advisor for more information.


“I saw how affordable this option could be, even as an out-of-state student, I decided I would buckle down and finally finish what I set out to do over a decade ago.” she said.


Being an Ohio University student was something Southern had imagined becoming since high-school. “The biggest positive about going to OHIO is this was actually the college I had wanted to go to when I was a high school girl, but my parents had heard it was a ‘party school.’  I find it funny that I have circled back to end up graduating from the college I had always wanted to attend in the first place.” she said.


She said online classes have significantly changed since first attending Wilmington University in 2012. Communicating with her online professors at the Lancaster campus and other OHIO campuses is easy and navigating classes is smooth using Blackboard. She also mentioned that having school library resources all online has been a great help for her.


“I’m currently working through my classes while staying at home and taking care of our three-year-old daughter which has proved challenging but not impossible. Even though I am not graduating as quickly as I had initially hoped when I started this journey, I am so happy to finally be able to see the light at the end of this extremely long tunnel.”


After graduating in the spring of 2020, Southern hopes to get into the field of Human Resources for a large company like Lockheed Martin which has a major office near her home in Florida.


“Now that I am finally at Ohio University, I can say that I do not regret the decision at all.” Southern said.