Throughout our lives, we’re always learning. From infancy through adulthood, the process of life can be viewed as a continuous education.

In today’s economy, it’s more important than ever to advance your education, if you want to get ahead. From propelling your career to the next level to starting your own business, getting a college degree is one of the best investments you can make toward your own personal growth and development.

To share with you a bit about my personal background, and the reasons why I have always valued higher education, my story starts with my parents.

My Dad was an only child, living in a modest, single-bedroom apartment with his parents (a Pharmacist and a stay-at-home Mom) in Brooklyn, New York. When he was a Sophomore in high school, his family faced financial difficulties. It was at that time, that he made the decision to drop-out of high school, just so he could work to help make money for his family. Over the years, he took on a variety of jobs, each of which taught him about different types of companies.

Despite the challenges he faced in his early years, my Dad always had the dream to create a prosperous, successful future for him and his family. Since that time, he has gone on to have a flourishing entrepreneurial career, and has founded several national and international businesses, which my family and I are now involved with.

While he wasn’t able to go back to school, he has always recognized the power of manifesting one’s dreams through determination, hard work, and tenacity. Because of him and his work ethic, I’ve learned the value of persistence, productivity, and accomplishment.

Meanwhile, on the other side of the country, my Mom was growing up in a different type of environment – the world of Beverly Hills, California. Since her family was involved in the entertainment industry (my Grandma was a professional singer and my Grandpa was a TV & Radio Show Producer), it led to my Mom’s interest in the arts.

From an early age, she was inspired by art, drama, and music. Because of these passions, she has continually pursued the realm of creativity. From theater performances to musical training, and video production to graphic arts, my Mom has spent her life continuing her education in these ares of interest.

She’s pursued higher education at several colleges, and has received degrees and credentials in a number of subjects. Professionally, she created a 17-minute documentary, and also wrote, illustrated, and self-published a children’s storybook (which is accompanied by a single-song C.D. that she wrote and recorded). In addition, she has designed several trademarked and patented consumer products, has created retail packaging and marketing materials, and has even written a feature length film script.

Combining her multi-talented skill-set, educational background, and visionary abilities, she never ceases to amaze me. And for these reasons and more, she is an on-going inspiration and mentor to me.

Not only have my Dad and Mom worked with each other (as business partners) for several decades now, they have also created businesses that I am now involved with.

Being raised by self-made parents who care about creating businesses that benefit themselves, their family, and the world, I have always had an innate desire to be involved with projects that educate and empower both myself, and others.

Shortly after high school ended, I started working my family business, and quickly realized I loved being in the work-force. To continue helping our business, I decided to get my college degree, while simultaneously working. I attended a junior college in the mornings (before work), to get my AA Degree. After that, I enrolled in an accredited business school’s local chapter, to earn my undergraduate degree.

Throughout this experience, I’ve learned that, in order to discover our happiness, to develop our talents, and to pursue our passions, we must always be open to learning, changing, and growing.

If you’re at a stage in life where you are asking yourself, “What do I want to accomplish next? What excites me? How can I make a difference?”, the first step is to being open to exploring new possibilities. There are limitless opportunities available to you, if you are courageous enough to seek them out.

That’s where Western Governors University can help. Recognized by Fast Company as one of the Top 50 Most Innovative Companies in 2013, WGU’s online programs enable you to further your education, advance your career, and get ahead in life. Whether you work full-time or you’re a stay-at-home Mom, earning your college degree is one of the best investments in your self that you could ever make.

“WGU is a nonprofit, accredited university– their goal is to address the obstacles facing those who are looking to advance or enter a new phase of their career – such as budget and schedule restraints.” From nursing programs to business and information technology, WGU was created to help busy people climb the ladder to success. In addition, they are known for their “competency based” educational program, which enables students to study at their own pace. WGU is also half the cost of other online schools, making it an affordable option for people on a budget. “WGU has received numerous national awards and recognitions as an innovator for low-cost, high quality education​.”

Studies have proven that college graduates frequently get better-paying jobs than those who haven’t pursued higher education, so you could say it definitely pays to invest in your future.

If you’re considering getting a degree, WGU is a great option for busy people who are limited on time and budget. To waive the standard $65 WGU application fee, Inspirations & Celebrations readers can simply click the link below and use app fee waiver code: celebrate.

WGU App Fee Waiver Code

[Image Credits: Shutterstock]

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This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Western Governors University. The opinions and text are all mine.

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