Featured photo: Blue Ridge graduate Cassy Mirich in the Patton Building. (Photo by Emily Gill, Marketing & Communications Dept.)
Marketing & Communications Dept.
Adult learners face a multitude of challenges in returning to school, including their own mindset and view of themselves. Before her time at Blue Ridge Community College, Cassy Mirich thought she would never attend higher education.
Her education started well as a child, but when her parents divorced in middle school she struggled to focus in school.
“I graduated from high school, but moved on believing that I’m not smart or good at school,” Mirich said.
Mirich went on to have five children who she decided to homeschool, seeing it as an opportunity to redeem her own education. Mirich “learned along” with her children, and when they were old enough, she enrolled them in the dual enrollment program at Blue Ridge.
As she learned more about Blue Ridge through her children, Mirich discovered opportunities and programs she hadn’t known about.
“I underestimated community college before because I didn’t know what it offered,” Mirich said. “I always tell people that it is better than I imagined.”
Part of what drew Mirich to Blue Ridge was the flexibility of the fully online accounting program. She loved previous jobs that included accounting duties and was thrilled to have a fully online option. Even better, Mirich and three of her children who attended Blue Ridge qualified for scholarships, making their education more than affordable.
“We haven’t paid a penny,” Mirich said. “The team at Blue Ridge has made financial aid very accessible; it’s been set up well to discover what is available to students.”
Mirich said everyone in her Blue Ridge journey played an important role in her success, especially her advisor Jana Hosmer.
“I’ve been really impressed with the faculty and staff at Blue Ridge. Everyone really wants students to succeed, which makes a big difference,” Mirich said. “I’m grateful to have Blue Ridge in our community. Not every place has resources and options like Blue Ridge does.”