NORWALK, Conn. -- Antoinette Wesley did what most single young mothers do: She went to work to support her daughter, Aubrianna Mann. With Aubrianna now in her teens, the Norwalk mom wants to do something for herself by getting her degree.
She previously tried attending classes at Norwalk Community College, but found balancing her job at Servpro in Stamford, taking care of her daughter and hours of night classes several times a week to be a bit much. Then she found out about the IDEAL program at the University of Bridgeport.
“IDEAL is an accelerated program for people like me who work full-time careers,” Wesley says. Under the program, Wesley goes to one class a week for one four-hour session. Her homework is more manageable and while the class hours are long, she can manage one or two days a week. Even then, the courses last no more than eight weeks, roughly half a regular semester.
'You get a lot of assignments, but you still have the time to do them and keep up with your life,” Wesley says. She knows that getting her daughter to and from cheerleading practice would be an almost impossible task if she had to work with a traditional course load.
Wesley is still a few years off from her degree general studies with a business concentration. Her goal is to finish her degree before Aubrianna begins hers. She considered online courses but says she’s too high energy to sit in front of a computer for hours on end. Besides, she does that at work already and the classes give her a social component that she enjoys.
Wesley notes that she could work and take traditional classes and that her decision to enter the IDEAL program is ultimately more about comfort than necessity. “I could handle regular classes if I had to, but it just wouldn't be as efficient,” she says.