Arizona State University transfer student Taylor Nostdahl had always dreamed of being a teacher and began her college journey working toward a degree in elementary education. However, after completing her first year of community college courses and working at a charter school, Nostdahl realized she was unsure about her chosen path.
“Although I loved my time at the school working with the kids, I came to the decision to switch degree paths to something that I could easily apply to any industry, whether that was working with kids or something entirely different,” Nostdahl said.
This realization led Nostdahl to switch her major from elementary education to communication for its versatility and relevance within any organization. “Most college students might agree that it can be difficult to decide what you want to do for the rest of your life and picking a degree is the start of it,” she explained. “I didn’t want my degree to confine me to one thing, I wanted it to provide me the freedom and opportunity to pursue a variety of paths.”
Nostdahl is an Arizona resident, but she chose to attend college online for the flexibility she experienced attending classes virtually during the pandemic.
“During my time at community college, I had switched to online courses as a result of the pandemic and ended up loving the flexibility that online courses had to offer,” Nostdahl said. “It made my decision to go online through Arizona State University very simple when it came time to switch to university.”
After completing her associate’s degree in spring 2021, Nostdahl transferred to ASU Online to pursue the Bachelor of Science in communication program with a minor in organizational leadership. She admits that she was nervous about the process of transferring from community college to ASU Online; however, with the help of her enrollment coach and the DARS audit report, the transition was seamless.
“I found the transition process really easy,” Nostdahl said. “My counselor at ASU was really helpful in explaining what and how many classes I should be taking each semester. He even helped me navigate through everything I needed to be successful at ASU including the My ASU portal.”
The combination of her degree and minor offered a comprehensive learning experience of leadership within the workplace. “I’ve really learned through these courses how well organizational leadership pairs with communication because leadership can only be accomplished through communication with others,” Nostdahl said.
With the flexibility to complete courses on her own time, Nostdahl has been able to work nearly full time at the YMCA, beginning as a leadership intern and moving up within the organization. Due to her availability to work full time, Nostdahl will be able to accomplish her goal of graduating this December without any student debt.
Nostdahl’s successes within her educational journey and career demonstrate that, with the right mindset and dedication, you can reach and surpass your goals. However, she acknowledges it wasn’t always easy to stay committed to her studies and career.
“Pursuing a degree online requires a lot of self-discipline, motivation and organization,” Nostdahl explained. “My last two semesters I really pushed myself by taking on 18 credits, which I thought at first was going to be impossible, but it’s very doable if you take it one day at a time. Life can get busy, but school has always been a priority for me.”
While Nostdahl says she’s still exploring potential professions and industries for her long term career journey, after she graduates she plans to continue her career at the YMCA and apply her education to the nonprofit industry. She still dreams of working with children and is looking forward to seeing where her degree takes her in the future.
“I’ve learned a lot from this degree,” Nostdahl said. “Communication is so important to us as humans. It’s how we express ourselves, it’s how we connect with others around us and it’s how we progress as humans. Communication is the foundation of society. Everything I’ve learned I can easily apply to my own life moving forward.”
Nostdahl is a great example that it’s never too late to change life paths. Even if you aren’t exactly sure of what you want to do with your career, utilizing your time to learn and grow can open many doors for opportunity and self-discovery.