If Gail Thuraphan can graduate with a master’s, anyone can accomplish their dreams.
That’s what Thuraphan emphasized when discussing her student experience.
“When it comes to accomplishments, there will always be obstacles, but if you just keep working, you can accomplish whatever it is you envision for yourself. The outside world may get in the way, but if it’s up to you, you can accomplish it. Take it from someone who dropped out of school in the eighth grade. If I can earn a master’s degree, I have confidence that everyone who is trying to do something will succeed.”
After overcoming countless obstacles, Thuraphan has her sights set high.
“Now I can say that while there was a chapter in my life where I was homeless, a drop-out and had no future, in this new chapter, thanks to Florida Tech, my life is going to be awesome, and I have high hopes.”
We spoke with Thuraphan about her academic experience and future plans.
Q. Tell us about your background.
I was born in Thailand and raised in Melbourne, FL. I have three kids: one daughter, age 28, and two sons ages 18 and 8. I dropped out of school when I was in the eighth grade, and that was not the story I wanted to tell my children. We all want better for our children. I knew I had to get a degree so to get a good job, but I also wanted a better story for my children. I earned my degree because I knew I had to do better.
Q. What were the most important factors in your decision to choose Florida Tech?
I chose Florida Tech because they offered the degree I was interested in and it is local. Florida Tech also has a good reputation, which played a part in my decision.
Q. Do you have any future plans with your degree?
My short-term goal is to have a successful career with a good company. My long-term goal is to have the resources to start a nonprofit organization to help children in my community with school supplies, clothes and other things they may need.
Q. What surprised you most about taking an online program?
I wanted more time to read over some of the information because I enjoyed it more than I thought I would. The tutoring program, Smarthinking, was amazing.
Q. What was your favorite class and why?
I enjoyed Business Law. It was challenging and interesting, and the professor was helpful.
Q. What was your most valuable takeaway from the program?
I actually called enrollment and said I changed my mind and didn’t want to enroll. After that, I thought about it, and called and said if I don’t start now, I probably never will. Even though I was afraid at first, I just went ahead and did it, and I succeeded. I’ve learned no matter the fear, I should just face it and go after what I want.
Q. What advice would you give other students who are considering enrolling in the program?
When things start getting crazy, stressful or overwhelming, slow down and take it one step at a time. Learn as much as you can and enjoy it as much as you can. When it comes to accomplishments, there will always be obstacles, but if you just keep working, you can accomplish whatever it is you envision for yourself. The outside world may get in the way, but if it’s up to you, you can accomplish it. Take it from someone who dropped out of school in the 8th grade. If I can earn a master’s degree, I have confidence that everyone who is trying to do something will succeed.
Q. Who has been your support system?
My brother was supportive. He’s the one that checks on me and makes me laugh.
Q. What was the most challenging part of your student journey?
Figuring out a schedule, balancing life and school was a challenge. In regard to scheduling, I finally gave in and accepted that I couldn’t do any school work until the kids went to bed. Once I had a schedule, it was a little less stressful. There were other things, like a change in jobs and the death of my son’s father, that added to the stress. At times it was difficult to find the strength and energy to keep going, but I just had to not focus on being tired or stressed.
Q. Who or what inspires you to succeed?
My children inspire me. I’m in awe when I look at them and imagine what their lives are going to be like. Veronica is finding her way as a young, independent woman and she has been able to find success in everything she does. Sha-mar is going into college soon and he plans on inspiring the future generations. Cruz, my little guy, is going to be rich and take care of me. Their dreams and aspirations are my inspirations.
Q. What is one fun fact about you?
New Zealand made legal tender of commemorative coins inspired by The Lord of the Rings, and I have a set. I also make my kids watch all the Marvel movies with me, and I have a collection of Marvel Hot Wheels.
Are you a graduate of Florida Tech’s 100% online degree programs? We would love to share your success story in our Student Spotlight series. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org for additional details.