Juggling Act Pays Off for Wausau Human Resources Student

handshake with red overlay

If Wausau, Wis., human resources student Ellen Volhard ever needs a new hobby, she may want to consider juggling. Between raising her kids, working full-time, attending school and dealing with everyday life she certainly developed a skill for rapidly shifting her focus.

Volhard’s story proves that even those with the busiest of schedules can earn a college degree as long as they’re willing to work hard and manage their time wisely.

Arriving at Rasmussen College

Volhard graduated high school in 1996 and enrolled at Winona State University the following fall. Volhard says her time there was a struggle, and ended up leaving school after three quarters.

“I just didn’t really like the environment there,” Volhard says. “It wasn’t a good fit for me.”

Volhard landed a sales position at Wausau Financial Systems in 2001 despite not finishing her degree. The job provided enough financial stability to start a family and be comfortable but a divorce in 2008 shook up a decade of stability and triggered her to make the jump back to school. This time, she would earn the degree she always wanted to complete.

Volhard was facing the prospect of being a single mother so her motivation to earn a degree was two-pronged.

“I wanted to show to my kids that education is important,” Volhard says. “Not only would it provide some security for me but I wanted to prove that I can do it.”

Volhard was fortunate to still have a good job, but it also required her to have flexibility in her schedule. She found a good fit at Rasmussen College where she could take the majority of her classes online, so she enrolled in the business management associate degree program.

Managing a juggling act

Returning to school was admittedly a little intimidating for Volhard—the time spent working and raising her family had left her a little rusty academically. The last time Volhard wrote a paper before Rasmussen College was in 1997, so her concerns about formatting and how to submit it electronically weren’t unfounded. Volhard fortunately could rely on the Support+ staff to walk her through the unfamiliar format of online classes as well as answer any other questions she’d have. The support paid off—despite the initial intimidation of returning to school Volhard made her way onto the Dean’s list and honor roll multiple times.

“That was a huge help—if it weren’t for them I don’t know how I would have managed that first paper,” Volhard says. “Every instructor was really invested in me and really made it easy to jump into a new environment.”

Her ability to do well academically is impressive when you take into account the balancing act it required—the needs of her children and work didn’t stop when she enrolled.

Volhard was so adept at balancing her schedule that she managed to finish the final quarter of her associate degree while pregnant with her third child. If that wasn’t challenging enough she also was in the process of buying a new home, which is practically a full time job on its own.

The hectic nature of her schedule did give her pause—she admits she thought about taking a break before her final quarter, but after meeting with her advisor and receiving a little encouragement she decided to finish on time. Volhard says the experience was difficult, but the help she received from instructors and other classmates when she’d fall behind was instrumental to her success.

“Looking back, I don’t really know how I did it,” Volhard says. “I’m a pretty motivated person and having the support of the faculty and my classmates was great, although I’m not sure if I’d do something like that again.”

Volhard took a well-deserved break from school after completing her associate degree in business management in 2011. However, it wasn’t long before Volhard started to miss the routine of schoolwork, the camaraderie of her classmates and the sense of accomplishment it gave her. Volhard, after inquiring about bachelor’s degree programs, found a new challenge—the accelerated human resources and organizational leadership program. The program’s condensed class format hasn’t caused Volhard to falter though; she’s still maintaining a high GPA and is scheduled to graduate in early 2014.

A promising future

Volhard says her bosses are starting to take notice of her work ethic and academic achievements and have asked her to consider a higher-level position within her organization. She says the prospect of a promotion is a little intimidating, but the confidence of her managers is reassuring. Volhard hopes her skilled balancing of responsibilities will reflect well upon her when it comes time to apply for another position.

“I wanted to show that I’ve got the drive, dedication and time management skills to balance a busy schedule so when the time comes to apply for another position I’ve got this to show for it,” Volhard says.

The takeaway

The prospect of working full time and attending school can seem intimidating, but students like Volhard show that with hard work and good time management skills you too can succeed. So what’s stopping you? Check out the business degree page now if you’re interested in taking on the challenge and earning your degree.

About the author

Will Erstad

Will is a Sr. Content Specialist at Collegis Education. He researches and writes student-focused articles on a variety of topics for Rasmussen University. He is passionate about learning and enjoys writing engaging content to help current and future students on their path to a rewarding education.


Related Content

Related Content

This piece of ad content was created by Rasmussen University to support its educational programs. Rasmussen University may not prepare students for all positions featured within this content. Please visit www.rasmussen.edu/degrees for a list of programs offered. External links provided on rasmussen.edu are for reference only. Rasmussen University does not guarantee, approve, control, or specifically endorse the information or products available on websites linked to, and is not endorsed by website owners, authors and/or organizations referenced. Rasmussen University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission, an institutional accreditation agency recognized by the U.S. Department of Education.

logo-accreditation-acen logo-accreditation-ccne chart-credential-laddering-associates-bachelors-masters 0 Credits 90 Credits 180 Credits 48 Credits Start Here HIGH SCHOOL GRADS Start Here TRANSFER STUDENTS Start Here SECOND DEGREE PURSUERS End Here ASSOCIATE'S DEGREE Start Here MASTER'S DEGREE PURSUERS End Here BACHELOR'S DEGREE End Here MASTER'S DEGREE chart-credential-laddering-associates-bachelors 0 Credits Start Here HIGH SCHOOL GRADS Start Here TRANSFER STUDENTS 90 Credits Start Here SECOND DEGREE PURSUERS End Here ASSOCIATE'S DEGREE 180 Credits End Here BACHELOR'S DEGREE chart-credential-laddering-msn chart-credential-laddering-nursing-programs chart-credential-laddering-nursing DNP MSN RN to BSN LPN to RN Bridge Accelerated BSN Professional Nursing ADN Practical Nursing Diploma Pre-Licensure Post-Licensure icon-colored-outline-bank icon-colored-outline-certificate icon-colored-outline-circle-dollar-sign icon-colored-outline-folder-search icon-colored-outline-hand-heart icon-colored-outline-head-blocks icon-colored-outline-head-cog icon-colored-outline-head-heart icon-colored-outline-health-plus-leaves icon-colored-outline-hospital icon-colored-outline-lifelong-learning icon-colored-outline-light-bulb-analytics icon-colored-outline-location-pin icon-colored-outline-magnifying-glass icon-colored-outline-monitor-healthcare icon-colored-outline-monitor-paper-search icon-colored-outline-nurse-rays icon-colored-outline-padlock-shield icon-colored-outline-person-presenter-screen icon-colored-outline-scales ras-logo-flame ras-logo-horizontal ras-logo-stacked icon-colored-advance icon-colored-arrows-cross-curve icon-colored-briefcase-star icon-colored-build icon-colored-bulb-analytics icon-colored-certificate icon-colored-continual-development icon-colored-duo-chatbox icon-colored-folder-mortarboard icon-colored-forward-ribbon icon-colored-gears-clock icon-colored-globe-pen icon-colored-growth icon-colored-hand-bubble icon-colored-hand-stars icon-colored-hands-gear icon-colored-head-blocks icon-colored-head-cog icon-colored-health-plus-leaves icon-colored-hospital-building icon-colored-laptop-cbe-skyscraper icon-colored-laptop-checkmark icon-colored-laptop-webpage icon-colored-location-map icon-colored-location-pin icon-colored-monitor-paper-scan icon-colored-mortarboard-dollar icon-colored-national icon-colored-people-chat-bubbles icon-colored-person-cheer-star icon-colored-person-laptop-checkboxes icon-colored-person-screen-instructor icon-colored-person-whiteboard icon-colored-phone-chatbox icon-colored-police-light icon-colored-prep icon-colored-presenter icon-colored-regional icon-colored-save-time icon-colored-shirt-hat icon-colored-skyscraper icon-colored-state icon-colored-student-centered icon-colored-support icon-colored-world-experience icon-triangle-arrow-up-plant icon-triangle-calendar-pencil icon-triangle-clock-rotating-arrows icon-triangle-display-gears icon-triangle-hand-right-speech-bubble icon-triangle-laptop-coding-brackets icon-triangle-mortarboard icon-triangle-paper-ribbon icon-triangle-person-cheer-star icon-triangle-person-juggle icon-triangle-triple-people-chat-bubble icon-modality-campus icon-modality-field icon-modality-online icon-modality-residential icon-arrow icon-bank icon-camera icon-filter icon-general-chart icon-general-connect icon-general-degree icon-general-discuss icon-general-email icon-general-find icon-general-hat icon-general-heart icon-general-laptop-building icon-general-laptop icon-general-leader icon-general-map icon-general-money icon-general-paperwork icon-general-people icon-general-phone icon-general-speak-out icon-head-heart icon-info-circle icon-mail-forward icon-mglass icon-play-solid icon-quote-mark-left icon-quote-mark-right icon-scales icon-share-square-o icon-simple-chat icon-simple-desktop icon-simple-find icon-simple-hamburger icon-simple-phone icon-spinner icon-tag icon-testimonial-quotes icon-util-checkbox-white icon-util-checkbox icon-util-checked-white icon-util-checked icon-util-chevron-down icon-util-chevron-left icon-util-chevron-right icon-util-chevron-up icon-util-circle-arrow-down icon-util-circle-dot icon-util-language-switch icon-util-loading icon-util-open-window-link icon-util-pdf-link icon-util-refresh icon-util-x rebrand-arrows icon-social-facebook-colored icon-social-facebook-square-colored icon-social-facebook-square icon-social-facebook icon-social-google-plus-square icon-social-google-plus icon-social-instagram-colored icon-social-instagram icon-social-linkedin-square-colored icon-social-linkedin-square icon-social-linkedin icon-social-pinterest-p-colored icon-social-pinterest-p icon-social-twitter-colored icon-social-twitter-square icon-social-twitter icon-social-youtube-play-colored icon-social-youtube-play graduate-cap-star-coin hand-coin hand-heart nurse-stethoscope-rays card-send-smile person-yoga-pose suitcase-star