Student Perspective: Amanda Nelson

We recently caught up with Amanda Nelson to talk about her Penn State World Campus journey. In this interview, she offers advice on how to achieve both educational and career goals.

What is your Penn State World Campus graduation year/degree?

I am on the path to graduate in 2021 with a degree in human development and family studies.

What is your current hometown?

I currently live in St. Petersburg, FL.

What/where is your current career and workplace?

While I’m in school, I work as an operations manager at Pioneer Mortgage Funding. I’ve been in this career field for a total of 11 years. Though it’s not directly in line with the degree I’m seeking, I’m able to apply knowledge I’m learning from my current classes. One of my biggest dreams is to help others live a life full of joy after overcoming addiction. I wrote and published a book about the method I created to obtain my own sobriety. I want to use this method as a foundation to teach others how to choose joy and then expand on that as I gain more knowledge from Penn State World Campus.

What does a typical day look like for you?

I’m a single mom of a beautiful 16-year-old daughter, so my days can get somewhat hectic. She’s so close to having her driver’s license, but for now I wake up and take her to school. When I get back home, it’s time to prepare myself for the world. I do a daily devotion, prayer & meditation, a small workout, and a motivational/inspirational video. I work a 9–5 job, and I put in about 3 hours of school work each night. In between all of that, I fit in quality time with my daughter and get her back and forth to work. Most nights, I sleep like a baby.

How did you become interested in the field you are currently studying for?

I am more than three years clean and sober after a 17–year drug/alcohol addiction. I spent many years hating my life and fueling my body with a multitude of different substances. The substances I chose to put in my body helped me land in places like jail and rehab. But I am an overcomer, and I have a great desire to learn all I can about addiction so that I can reach back and help as many people as I can overcome it as well.

How has Penn State World Campus impacted your career?

Since I’ve been a student, I have noticed that my ability to be self-disciplined has strengthened. I’m able to apply this skill in every area of my life, especially my career. This year, I obtained a position back in the mortgage business after taking a few detours in my life. I’ve gained so much confidence and have taken my leadership skills to a whole new level. I’m so proud of the growth I’ve accomplished at Penn State World Campus.

What are some of the challenges you face as a World Campus student? How do you overcome these challenges?

There are some days when I get super overwhelmed looking at all the work I need to accomplish for the week. I think, “There’s no way I can get all this done on top of working a full-time job and being a single mom.” I give myself pep talks A LOT! I get in front of the mirror and tell myself things like, “You can do this girl! You just completed all your assignments last week, and you can do it again!” I’m also learning how to use a planner and write things down that need to get done. This was a challenging task for me at first, but I’m actually starting to see the benefits.

Do you stay connected with Penn State? How do you stay connected?

I’m a Penn State World Campus Student Ambassador! We get the opportunity to do service work as well as have quarterly meetings via Zoom, which allow me to feel a part of campus life. I also visited University Park for the Summer Leadership Conference this year. What an amazing experience that was. I can’t wait to make more trips to campus!

What is some advice that you would give to a new Penn State World Campus student?

Don’t give up! There will be days you feel overwhelmed, frustrated, and you don’t even know why you started this school journey in the first place. Keep going even on those hard days. Give yourself grace and lots of pep talks! Trust me; if I can do this, SO CAN YOU!