Balancing it all with Erika

I am an accounting major at Millikin University, and I reached out to Erika Chapman, another accounting major at Millikin. I was surprised when we started to chat to find out she is a non-traditional adult student too.

Erika’s story on how she became an accounting major is an interesting one. She attended Richland Community College right out of high school and obtained an associate’s degree in Biology. She was then accepted into Parkland’s Dental Hygienist Program. Shortly after that, her manager at Monical’s asked her to take over their bookkeeping, and she was surprised how much she enjoyed it. She found out she was pregnant during her last semester at Richland and took a couple of years off after that to spend time with her son. But in the back of her mind, she knew she wanted to get a bachelor’s degree. Her experience as a bookkeeper led her to work towards getting a degree in Accounting.

Erika currently works as the assistant to the executive vice president,  credit officers, and the loan administration team at Hickory Point Bank. She learned about the position at Hickory Point Bank during a Career Fair at Millikin University and made the switch from Monical’s in April as she felt like it was a better fit for her current and future goals.

She rises early to get her son ready for daycare and is in the office well before 8:00 am. When her day finishes at Hickory Point Bank, she drives about thirty minutes to pick up her son from daycare by 5:00. Once she arrives home, she gets her son settled for the evening, and school begins for her. With her courses being online this semester, she spends about four hours in the evening doing school work. She shared, “the first two semesters at Millikin were pretty intense, but the last two have not been so bad.” She did share “she makes it a priority to finish her classwork during the week so she can spend time with her family on the weekend.” In addition, she mentioned, “she relies heavily on Outlook calendar and course syllabus to keep her on track.”

When I asked her what her favorite part of the day is, she said, “dropping her son off and the quiet time during her drive to work.” Also, “getting her son from work at the end of the day is also a highlight.” Her least favorite part of the day is “rushing to pick him up by 5:00. It can be a challenge to arrive on time depending on the number of red lights.”

Her advice to accounting majors is to “reach out and be resourceful.” She also mentioned, “if she reaches out to a professor and doesn’t receive a response, she reaches out to another one to get the help she needs.” In addition, she wanted to share, “embrace the uncomfortable; you have to uncomfortable to get comfortable.”

In addition, I reached out to Ed Weber, professor at Millikin University, and asked what his advice would be for accounting majors. He said, “As an Accounting Major, one should realize that they will be using spreadsheet programs on a daily basis.  And, as the Accounting requirements of the clients become more and more complex, likewise the resulting spreadsheets must become more and more complex to service those clients’ needs! So taking personal responsibility to learn the more advanced tools and techniques which are a part of all contemporary spreadsheet programs is an   essential requirement of every Accounting professional!”

Erika is just three classes shy of finishing her degree and will graduate in May of 2022. All the while, she is working a full-time job and raising her three-year-old son Jase. Erika is balancing a lot during this season of life and she is making it look easy.

Author: Tanya Vaughn #TVaughn217

In tune higher ed administrative assistant. Communicator. Boy mom. Pillow collector. Documenting daily life w/ paper & glue.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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