Graduated in Online Psychology about leaving her corporate life to achieve her lifelong dream

January 25, 2023
Editor’s Note: This story is part of a series of profiles of remarkable fall 2022 graduates.

Kristine Anderson has worn many hats throughout her life – mother, wife, sister, janitor, project manager, and college student, to name a few. Last month, she wore a new kind of hat at Arizona State University New College for Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences fall 2022 convocation ceremony: a graduation cap.

In December, Kristine Anderson received a bachelor’s degree in psychology from ASU’s New College of Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences.
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After working in the business world as an information technology project manager for over 20 years and reflecting on her life after the loss of several loved ones that were dear to her, she realized that she wanted to pursue her lifelong dream of going to college to become a to earn a degree. bachelor’s degree.

“In my career I was always hindered by the thing without a degree. I had had enough, so I decided to go to school,” Anderson said. “I did a lot of research on really great online programs, and I found that ASU has one of the top-ranked online degree programs, and the psychology program is also very, very highly regarded.”

Anderson, who lives in Wisconsin, originally planned to go to college right out of high school. However, life had other plans for her, she said.

“Sometimes life throws you a little crooked,” she said. “Mine came in the form of a 6 pound, 7 ounce baby the third week of my senior year of high school. I was a teen mom and I graduated on time with my high school class with a 9 month old baby.

In December she obtained her bachelor’s degree in psychology. Here she shares more about her experiences at ASU and what’s next for her.

Q: What led you to study psychology?

Answer: Fascination. I took Introduction to Psychology with Professor Natalie Gildar, and the more I learned about it, the more fascinated I became. We’ve come so far in such a short time, but at the same time there’s so much we still don’t know and are still learning about. That’s just really exciting to watch. … It’s really cool to figure out how the brain works, even though we don’t know everything and what we do know is probably miniscule – it’s really cool to figure out how those things work.

Q: What did you learn at New College – in class or otherwise – that surprised you or changed your perspective?

A: I’ve always been a compassionate person. Only on an emotional level am I someone who feels the energy of people. But learning more about the effects of childhood trauma and how it can manifest later in life if not addressed in childhood has allowed me to have even more compassion for people going through mental health issues. So that was an eye opener for me.

Q: Which professor taught you the most important lesson while you were at ASU?

A: Professor Erin Kube – she’s great. I don’t know why, but I was always nervous about going to office hours, and I avoided them like the plague and instead just struggled through things. It was the penultimate week of my statistics class and I went to her office and popped the question and found out that she was extremely interested in my research project, but I was looking at it all wrong and I had two weeks to finish my whole paper. But she was very welcoming and friendly. Office hours were nowhere near the scary event I was thinking about getting into. In those last two weeks I was at every consultation hour. She showed me that it’s important to just reach out because professors are always willing to help and they want you to succeed.

Q: Were there any clubs, organizations, or opportunities that positively impacted your ASU experience?

A: I am a founding member of the Psyched Up Sun Devils, ASU’s virtual psychology club. That was a lot of fun to be involved in. We would come together and share our love of psychology. We would also have a master’s student come and teach us about grad school applications or teach us about specific career areas. We had movie nights on psychology and we studied together. I used to be involved in a club called Mature Sun Devils, but now it’s called PRIMED, a group for students over 30 years old.

Question: Have you encountered any obstacles along the way? If so, how did you overcome them?

A: We had a great tragedy in our family and my daughter lost her best friend who was like one of my own children. My daughter has been having some trouble – she has PTSD. Then my father-in-law died; two weeks later my stepmother died and that same year my father was diagnosed with cancer and dementia. There were also other family deaths. All this was a turning point for me. It sent me into this downward spiral. All of that made me lose my identity and my sense of who I was. I went to a therapist and he challenged me to do something for myself. He asked me, “What have you always wanted to do but never got to do?” And for me, that was going to college. …Learning about how things work in your brain and why you struggle with different things at different times in your life really got me through that depression. It was certainly an evolution.

Kristine Anderson with her family at her daughter’s wedding. Photo courtesy of Kristine Anderson

Q: What advice would you give to non-traditional students or those considering returning to college?

A: Investing in yourself and your education will never steer you wrong. So my advice would be to just go for it. Do it. Literally. Yes, it’s money, and yes, it’s time. But you’ll get so much more out of it than any of those things.

Q: What are your plans after graduation?

A: I’m looking at grad schools, but I haven’t decided yet. Maybe I’ll take a semester off because most programs start in the fall. Eventually I want to complete the Doctor of Psychology track, but I will probably first take a pit stop and get a master’s degree in clinical psychology. Eventually, my husband and I hope to start a non-profit organization that will help bridge the gap for children who age out of foster care.

Graduated in Online Psychology about leaving her corporate life to achieve her lifelong dream

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