Journey To Commencement: Shannae Taylor

Journey To Commencement: Shannae Taylor

Only two days until Commencement! We are thrilled to highlight some of our upcoming graduates and share their stories, in their own words, with our Journey to Commencement series.

Today’s feature is Shannae Taylor, a graduate of the Bachelor of Arts in Liberal Studies and Certificate of Proficiency in Client Services & Quality Service Management programs.

“I am a former student and alumni of Peirce College, class of 1998. During that time, I lived on campus and had difficulty adjusting to being on my own as a college student. At first, the idea of having so much independence excited me but then it became nerve wracking as I faced financial and social struggles.

Shortly after I started at Peirce, I became pregnant and moved off campus, but I was still determined to graduate. Due to a lack of support, being pregnant, and having no desire to really be in school, my grades suffered. So I decided to mainly focus on completing my associate degree in Business Administration and start working in the business field. Although I enjoyed Peirce’s campus, faculty and staff, and many resources for students, when I graduated in May 1998, I vowed to never return to college. I talked myself into thinking the schoolwork would be too difficult, especially after being out of school for so long and at my age. 

After working for several different organizations for more than twenty years, I left the corporate world and started my own business. I knew that I could use everything I learned throughout the years to successfully run my own business. I also understood that there were many areas of business I either did not know or had forgotten from my courses I had taken at Peirce in the 90s. 

One day, I wrote out my goals, which included personal and professional goals. One was going back to college and getting my bachelor’s degree. The first time I attended college, it was to prove others wrong. This time it was personal. This time it was to prove myself right. Even though I’ve had a tough life and have faced many struggles, I never backed down or gave up, I always pushed through. I knew I needed to have that same strength to go back to college and to complete my bachelor’s degree. 

In 2019, I finally reached out to Peirce College and registered for the bachelor’s degree program. I was excited to return back to my alma mater but, more importantly, to gain more knowledge in a major that is necessary for me to be a great business owner. As I completed courses, I found myself getting weary and frustrated but that was mostly due to the challenging coursework. The last course I had with Professor Glenn was one of the most difficult courses I ever had. When I looked at the assignments, it felt like I was reading another language. After attending Zoom classes and pairing up with other students, as well as attending tutoring, I began to understand the assignments better. While working on the final paper,  I started to feel defeated due to exhaustion and having missed requirements of the assignment. I told Professor Glenn I was giving up, I had nothing else to give. She messaged me back and told me not to give up. She encouraged me and told me I could do it and I ended up receiving a B in her course. This is just one of several times I had to really push to accomplish my goal of getting my degree.  

Another challenge I faced was during the pandemic, which caused the campus to shut down. As a visual learner, adjusting to virtual learning was a challenge but, with time, I managed to handle learning online.

As I continued to complete my courses, I began to feel sick. At first I thought it was stress and I just needed rest but unfortunately it was something more serious. I found out that I had a pituitary (base of the skull) cyst that grew in size causing me to need surgery. I had surgery in February 2021, which put my schooling on hold. I had no idea my recovery would take so long. It took months for me to recover and to be able to return to Peirce. Fortunately, I was able to return to Peirce in late 2022. After speaking to my advisor, Danielle Frank, I found out I only needed eight more courses to complete my bachelor’s degree program. Danielle had conference calls with me regularly to work on my roster and to discuss the best course of action for me to finish. I took classes at Peirce and through Coursera straight through the summer and weekends to finish my degree program in December 2023.

Now that I’ve accomplished one of my biggest goals, I know I am ready to tackle the rest of my professional and personal goals. My college journey was one filled with hope, doubt, fear, dedication, and strength but has mostly been a journey of commitment. No matter how many times I wanted to give up, I never gave up on myself nor did my advisor or professors. Even though my GPA is not as high as I would like because of my grades in 1998, I am proud of my grades and accomplishments this time around. I made the President’s List for the fall semester and am proud to say, “I did it, again!”  

  • Shannae Taylor 
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