Student Spotlight: Rebekah McDonald-Creeden

Meet Rebekah

What Inspired You to Complete Your Degree:

I was inspired to go back to school because of a dramatic life change that I didn't see coming. After 13 years of marriage, I found myself a divorced, single mom of two kids. I had my bachelor's degree and a few years of work under my belt, but I was a stay-at-home mom until I found myself in a position where I needed to provide for myself and my kids. I knew that taking the next step and working on a master's degree would open doors for me to provide the life I felt God calling me to as a mom. I wasn't sure how I was going to do it financially or time-wise, but was confident God would provide a way.

Degree Plans:

I have always wanted to serve people in a unique, creative, yet needed way. My ultimate goal would be to become an HR specialist that would essentially do contract work for area churches and nonprofits that cannot afford a full-time HR position. I would travel to the organization as needed to help with comprehensive HR tasks, as that is not something that is taught to those in ministry.

Why CCU:

I chose CCU because Christian education is very important to me. I went to a Lutheran grade school, high school, and college. My children go to a Lutheran grade school. My faith is fundamental in my life and I want to be able to openly express and incorporate my faith into my education. I also want to relate it in a practical way to my professional life.

Work/Life Balance Experience:

I'll be honest, with everything on my plate, it is challenging. But because of the way CCU sets up their classes I found that it can be manageable. With good time management, I have been able to get to everything I need to at work, home, and school. It really comes down to understanding the true priorities of my life and learning to not worry about the other things.

How Did CCU Make it Possible:

This goal has been possible because of the schedule flexibility of CCU's online classes. I have been able to incorporate it into my life without having had it take over my life. I can keep my main priorities my priorities.

Most Memorable Experience:

Sharing this experience with my kids, I have been able to use it for numerous teachable moments. It has brought us together, our little family of three, in a way that we can work together as a unit to care for one another.

Faith Integration:

While I am blessed to work in an environment where I can openly share my faith, it has given me the courage to speak up more as that is not a natural thing for me. I have more confidence in expressing my voice now.

Advice for Prospects:

Try it! It is often the fear of the unknown that holds us back from doing something that will be beneficial for us. It is scary taking a step like this, but my enrollment counselor and advisor were there to answer questions and help me keep my focus on the "why" of what I was doing and how being online could make it possible for me.

This is an environment where you are free to be who you are now while learning and discovering who God has truly created you to be and the greater callings he has placed on your life.

Value of Your Education:

The value vs. investment is appropriate. In fact, I would say I received way more value than what tuition "paid" for. It is more than just the content of the classes, it is my classmates and professors, the example I was able to set for friends and family, all those intangibles that create value that other schools can't give.

Format Experience:

The online experience was wonderful for me. There was a little bit of a learning curve since I had finished my bachelor's 14 years earlier and we didn't have an online back then. But once I got used to it, it made balancing being a single mom, full-time work, and a full-time student manageable. I could do homework on my lunch breaks at work, before my kids got up in the morning, or after they went to bed. I was able to maintain "normal" for my family while striving to give them the best life possible.

Online Community:

The online community has been a great experience for me. I have been able to easily connect with my professors and classmates. I have even had Zoom study sessions with classmates as we worked through course material. And in today's busy life, we could leave messages as we had time and still could support all.