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Learning Center Experience
Growing up, Linda Dreisbach’s
parents were successful self-made entrepreneurs. She was fortunate to
grow up with a privileged life. “My parents worked hard and we had nice things.
But most importantly, they were involved in the community and helping those in
need. They instilled in their children a freedom of adventure and a sense of
caring and empathy toward others. They were thrilled that their success allowed
me to serve people in need."
When she was just 16,
with the support of her parents, Linda started missionary work and traveled to
Egypt to help in an orphanage. “I realized my true calling was to help others,”
Linda said. “I never considered myself a ‘book-smart’ person and I didn’t do
that well in school, socially or academically. I didn’t enjoy learning because
it didn’t come easy to me.” Linda dropped out of high school, eventually
earning her GED, and became a full-time Christian missionary. She traveled to
Haiti, China, India, and Korea, where she mostly implemented children’s
ministry programs. Linda wrote curriculum, trained teachers and staff, and then
moved on to the next area that needed her assistance.
On one of her trips,
Linda met a fellow missionary. They married and had two children, and Linda
became a stay-at-home mom while continuing missionary work with her husband. She
also became a third-degree black belt and martial arts instructor.
Nearly 20 years later,
Linda realized that she needed to step out on her own. Linda and her husband
made the difficult decision to divorce, which set her apart from the church and
missionary she served. Once her marriage ended, her career ended as well and
she lost most of her friends.
At 40 years old with
two kids on their way to college, Linda’s cash flow was running out. “It was—and
still is—pretty scary,” Linda said. “But I have no regrets about anything.
I knew in my heart that I was making the right decisions for my children and
“I had pretty much
been counseling others for my entire career, in my missionary work and in my
martial arts job as well,” Linda continued. “But I needed a college degree for additional credibility to get a job. I was always
interested in psychology, so I thought it would be a great fit.”
Linda used the last of
her savings to invest in her and her family’s future. She enrolled in the
accelerated bachelor’s degree in psychology program at Kaplan University and earned her degree, graduating summa cum laude. “Everyone was really
surprised and super proud of me, especially my parents.”
Now Linda is at the
prestigious University of Southern California, where she’s a full-time student
in the online graduate social work program. She starts her field internship
“Graduate school is
really hard,” Linda said. “But to tell you the truth, I feel like I am usually
a few steps ahead of my peers at USC! This is coming from someone who never
felt smart or confident in my academic abilities. I feel it’s all due to Kaplan
University. The University set the bar so high. For the first time, I learned how to
study. I learned not to be afraid to ask for help. I learned that I am not
alone, that there was a whole community was there to help me learn and succeed.
It was so empowering and exciting!”
Once Linda earns her master’s
degree she would like to start a career in clinical social work and develop her
own private counseling practice.
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