Melanie’s Story

Photo of Melanie Berry“My experience with the Bachelor of University Studies program at the University of Maine has been incredible!  It first began in 2005 with a random visit to the Hutchison Center.  I had the opportunity to speak to a wonderful man who reminded me of my own educational goals, how much I had already accomplished and how obtainable my bachelor’s degree really was.  I was given credit for most all of the classes I had taken over my adult life – even the computer/DOS class in the early 1990s!  After a few years (around 2008), I had to pause once again, challenged by the work-parent-wife-school balance.  

Unfortunately, I put finishing my degree, not just on the back burner, but in the back corner of the cupboard to collect dust.  I had resigned myself to be OK with this goal not being achieved.  Shame on me – especially when this program allows so much flexibility!   Just before I turned 50 (in 2018) and after talking to a co-worker of the same age who was going back to school, taking advantage of the Adult Degree Scholarship, I realized that the time to do this is NOW.  Our daughter is grown (23) with a child of her own (our grandson Arlo, just a couple of months old).  My husband and I had finally found our groove with the whole empty nest thing, and work was manageable and extremely supportive, so back to school I went!  I didn’t realize how close I was to my degree; over 80 credits completed of my required 120.  

From the moment I made the decision to finally finish what I started, I have been surrounded by an incredible support system – from help finding financial aid/scholarships, to understanding what I have left to take to finish my degree.  EVERY department at the University of Maine has been kind, supportive and optimistic.  

I love that, by December 2021 (hopefully), I will be a graduate of the University of Maine, with a Bachelor of University Studies, Division of Lifelong Learning degree.  A true Maine Black Bear!  This program is an opportunity for adult learners to finish what they started and achieve the long-term goal of a Bachelor’s degree.”

– Melanie Berry