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WGU Graduate Speaker, Natasha Pittman

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WGU Graduate Speaker, Natasha Pittman
Western Governors University
<p>WGU graduate Natasha Pittman spoke at the WGU Bachelor's Commencement Ceremony in Lake Buena Vista, Florida.</p> <p>Natasha Pittman earned her Bachelor of Science, Information Technology degree.</p> <p>Written version of speech from Natasha Pittman:</p> <p>We did it.</p> <p>This is the moment we’ve been working for. </p> <p>Look around and relish in it. </p> <p>We did it. </p> <p>My name is Natasha Pittman, and I am a graduate of WGU’s College of Information Technology.</p> <p>My true love for technology began in high school when I enrolled into an Office Specialist program. </p> <p>As I learned to make everything from fancy publisher brochures to animated PowerPoints, I realized how much I loved making computers “do” things. I completed the program and went on to community college, where nearly every elective for my associate’s degree involved mastering a new software program.</p> <p>Over the years, my software knowledge made me a valuable asset to employers, but I never associated what I did with IT. I thought IT was limited to the nuts and bolts of the computer and whatever magic happens when you press the power button. I don’t build computers with things, I build things with computers.</p> <p>About 6 years ago, I came across a job opening for someone that was good at making computers do things and teaching others how to do the same.</p> <p>Little did I know that my years of learning everything I could about computer applications was in preparation for my current career.</p> <p>As the Software Specialist for Suwannee County Schools, I manage many of the programs used by the district, help faculty and staff with using those programs, and occasionally help with the nuts and bolts of IT, like installing projectors and terminating network cables. </p> <p>I LOVE MY JOB.</p> <p>A few years into my position, a certain question was asked one too many times that led to my pursuit at WGU. What is your degree in? My generic AA didn’t feel sufficient anymore. I found myself wishing I had earned a higher-level degree that better fit my career. I knew I brought valuable skills to the table, but I wanted a degree that validated those skills.</p> <p>Why didn’t I have this piece of validation?</p> <p>I couldn’t think of a good enough answer. No excuse was good enough. Yes, I already had my dream job, worked full time, had a family, and could think of a million reasons why I didn’t have the time. </p> <p>However, none of those reasons were good enough.</p> <p>After spending a few weeks comparing online colleges and their IT programs, I decided that WGU was a perfect fit and began the application process.</p> <p>The challenges of going back to school commenced, with the first being an initial rejection from the program. I was told I needed more “IT” experience to qualify for admission. </p> <p>I was devastated, but I wasn’t defeated.</p> <p>I immediately started reformatting my resume to better show how my former duties were IT-related. I highlighted the number of years I had spent working with databases, building websites, and every responsibility that could be connected to the program.</p> <p>I submitted my appeal, urging admissions to see my accomplishments and responsibilities that were “IT Experiences” in disguise. </p> <p>WGU agreed, and my new adventure began.</p> <p>Aside from the normal struggles of school while living a naturally chaotic life, I also taught a few night classes and started a makeup business on the side to offset the cost of student loans. And, to top it all off, I also suffered from thyroid autoimmune disease. Although I never took a term break, I struggled so much at times that I wondered if I’d ever finish. However, with treatment, encouragement from my support system, and a tenacious belief in myself, not only did I complete my program, but I was also honored to receive the Capstone Excellence Award for my work on Implementing a Learning Management System.</p> <p>My studies at WGU not only allowed me to earn the validation I was looking for, but they also renewed my belief in the power of perseverance.</p> <p>From program reject,</p> <p>to award recipient,</p> <p>graduate,</p> <p>and honored with the opportunity to speak to all of you…</p> <p>Amazing things happen when you don’t allow the struggle to be the end of your story.</p> <p>After all of this, I want to tell you that my story is no more remarkable than yours.</p> <p>Please raise your hand if you’ve experienced at least one struggle in this great accomplishment that made you wonder if you were ever going to make it?</p> <p>I see a lot of hands.</p> <p>You see. Every single one of you has a story. Each of you overcame some sort of hurdle or multiple struggles to get to this moment. The one constant among all of us is that we decided to believe in ourselves. It may have involved countless hours, mild nervous breakdowns, and encouragement from our support system, but achieving this very moment was ultimately up to us. </p> <p>We decided that no excuse was good enough. We decided that we have it takes, and we did it.</p> <p>You have all earned the right to share your story, and I want to challenge you to do exactly that. </p> <p>By sharing our successes AND our struggles with whoever will listen, we may inspire others to strive for success without fearing the struggle. We may help them decide that they have what it takes.</p> <p>I challenge you to use your own story to inspire others to believe in themselves.</p> <p>No excuse is good enough. Don’t stop believin’.</p> <p>Thank you.</p>
Western Governors University
© 2018 Western Governors University – WGU. All Rights Reserved.
Original Format: 
Commencement Video
Digital Format: 
MP4 (Moving Picture Experts Group)