Tiffany Perry’s son won’t even be in kindergarten by the time she graduates from South Piedmont Community College’s Associate in Arts in a Year program, but she will have already taught him a life-changing lesson about the importance of higher education.
“A degree can change your life, and it’s something no one can ever take away from you,” said Perry, whose son is 2.
“I want to set an example for him to invest in himself and in his education. I want him to know that I made a sacrifice by going back to school; it wasn’t easy, but it led to greater things.”
Perry earned a diploma in nursing from another college and currently works as a licensed practical nurse. While she enjoys helping patients, she is not sure she wants to be a nurse for the rest of her career. She enrolled in South Piedmont’s Associate in Arts in a Year program this fall to prepare herself for career advancement — or possibly a career change.
The Associate in Arts in a Year program allows students to earn an Associate in Arts degree, which would normally take two years, in just 12 months. Applications for the spring semester are now being accepted; the deadline is Nov. 1.
Perry is able to complete the Associate in Arts in a Year program online, which is making it possible for her to balance her job, her family, and her education. While the accelerated nature of the Associate in Arts in a Year program is challenging, she said it’s worth it to complete a degree in such a short amount of time.
“It’s one year and then you can get on with your life,” she said.
“It isn’t easy trying to do it all — work, be a wife and mother, and go to school — but I have to stay focused on the outcome.”
As a college graduate, Perry explained, she will enjoy more professional opportunities and a more comfortable lifestyle.
“I don’t exactly know what direction I’m going to take, but I do know a college degree is going to open doors,” she said.
And though she’s only a few weeks into the program, Perry said she’s already noticed a change within herself.
“I feel more disciplined, and I feel a sense of pride. As moms, we sometimes forget who we are. I’m taking a moment for Tiffany. I’m investing in myself, and it feels good.”