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Meet Georgia O’Neal – Asher College Graduate

Georgia O’Neal described herself as a negative individual. She said she never smiled, she never laughed and she cried about everything. Now her dad calls her the “positive light in the family.” And at work she is known as “the ray of sunshine.” Georgia credits this change to Asher College.

“I’m a very cheerful happy person now and I used to not be this way,” said O’Neal. “Asher will change the way you speak, talk and feel about yourself and other people.”

Georgia began attending Asher College in April 2014. She finished the Office Administrator program in October 2014 and finished her last class in the Associate of Applied Science program in Office Accounting last week.On top of all her current endeavors, Georgia plans to continue her education to become a drug counselor.

Georgia has extensive and varied work experience. She has twenty combined years of administrative, sales, management, real estate and accounting experience.  After years of solid employment, Georgia found herself for the first time unemployed without any prospects.

Georgia took the time to speak about her experiences.

Why did you decide to go back to school?

For the very first time I was unemployed and could not get a job to save my life. I had 25 interviews before I landed on Asher’s doorstep. I was at the lowest part of my life as an adult. I was at a dead end and everything led to ‘education, education, education.’

Why did you choose Asher?

I visited the State of Texas Workforce Commission, the unemployment office, to look at the schools that were accredited by the state. I found Asher and another school. After visiting the first school, I was very hesitant because it wasn’t a very positive atmosphere, it wasn’t clean, and it wasn’t the right fit for me. When I visited Asher, I was hesitant because of the money, but I was convinced it was the right move for me. And it was. It was life-changing.

You mentioned concern over financing your education. Please explain.

I didn’t qualify for grants or state-assistance because of the amount of money I made the previous year. I also had previous loans from other colleges. But Asher really helped me see that it was going to take education to get me to the next point in my life to be able to pay my bills. And they were right.

Tell me about your experience at Asher?

The staff is amazing. From the person at the front desk to the person in the back of the classroom, everyone is always smiling. If you have a question for them, no matter how left-field or how small, they don’t look down on you and are there to help you. I really liked the structure of the classes because they incorporated several different learning styles: visual, auditory and hands-on. Every different aspect gives you different learning experiences.

I also like the way they tested you at Asher. They gave you the ability to study exactly what was going to be tested. This really helps for people like myself with test anxiety. It gives you the ability to take some stress off yourself.

You said that your experience at Asher was life-changing. Can you elaborate?

When I first got to Asher I was really beat up. I was down on myself. I couldn’t even look myself in the mirror because I was so disappointed in the way things had turned out. The staff at Asher in Addison is positive, upbeat and uplifting. There is no negativity. It is constantly “You can! You can! You can!” They lift you up out of that deep-dark depression you are in when you lose a job. The staff was so kind and generous. I suffered from an anxiety disorder which kept me from going out in public a lot and Asher really changed my ability to socialize.(The Director of Career Services) Garth Adams taught me how to network. I was able to get out and talk to people and sell my business and meet people and go to all these different functions that a year ago I would have called you a liar if you told me I would be doing these things. The whole experience was amazing for me. It changed my life.

Did your time at Asher help you get back into the employment field?

Yes! I began as a temp in accounts receivable in October 2015. Within six months I was promoted to Credit Manager for a bumper repair company. It is a small company but it’s amazing and we are very busy.

I also started my own business in August 2014 while I was attending Asher. My company provides virtual assistance to people or companies who are in need of temporary administrative staff. We help with data-entry, spreadsheets, accounting. Most of our clients are in the real estate business.

While I was networking I identified a need for virtual assistance. In real estate, there are a lot of people with full-time jobs who are trying to run their real-estate business and need some assistance. I had wracked my brain and speaking with Garth Adams and instructors Russel and J, was really helpful. The Career Success class gives you the ability to put yourself out there and to sell what you need to sell and the people at Asher College were so supportive. I really think they were the final push over the hump that made me decide to start my business.

Tell me a little more about the Career Success class at Asher?

The class teaches you how to be positive and look at yourself differently. It teaches you how to think about yourself.  It teaches you to use the right words when you talk about yourself. It promotes positive self-talk. You learn to prepare yourself for an interview. You learn to prepare your resume. It is really life-changing. If you have always beat yourself up and are always negative, you have somebody who puts this in front of you and says ‘follow this path and change the way you think and talk about yourself.’ It opens your eyes.

What advice would you give someone who wanted to go back to school?

Don’t give up! Grab that education and get it while you can. Even if you are worried about taking time away from your family. Make sure you show your family it is ok to continue your education and go back to school. I think it has been really good for my seven year old to see me in school and see that even adults struggle in school. My advice is to follow your dreams. Don’t give up don’t stop believing. When you give up on yourself that is when you lose sight of what is really important.

Would you recommend Asher College?

I 100 percent recommend Asher. I am trying to get my sister enrolled. I can’t express how much it changed my life. It is worth any amount of money you are going to spend to get an education from Asher College. In addition to the academic, the personal experience is life-changing.

There are a lot of people, 40, 50 years old out of work that were in the same boat I was in. There were other people there going through the exact same thing. At the end of the day you become one big family. And that is what Asher was. It was a family.