By Patricia Duran

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 How much can Eastern New Mexico University impact your life? Just ask Jenica Swenson, a graduate student, taking online classes over 1,100 miles away. Jenica is a teacher in Minot, North Dakota, and is studying for her master's in counseling. Her husband is also active duty in the Air Force. She chose ENMU because of the flexible online classes and professors.

"I love teaching, so I was unable and unwilling to quit my job to pursue my master's, and so ENMU's program fit perfectly for my situation," said Jenica. ENMU offers online classes and summer classes for many programs, which is the highlight feature for long-distance students like Jenica.

Understanding that moving to Portales was not an option for her, the professors have created ways for her to continue her studies, such as Skyping her into classes she cannot attend in-person. "I have truly been blessed with amazing professors. They have a passion for the curriculum. A curriculum is only as good as those who present it," explained Jenica. Improving her people skills is her ultimate career achievement, and the curriculum at ENMU produced a better understanding of life for her. Since taking her counseling classes, she has become a more effective teacher in the classroom."I am able to better understand why my students are making the choices they are making, as well as developing strategies to further help those students, not only in school, but in life," said Jenica. Jenica has always had a passion for helping others, but she never knew why until now. "My father passed away unexpectedly a couple years ago, and it really made me stop and think. I try my hardest to live in the moment, be thankful, and tell people how I feel." She explains that the master's program has shaped her into a better person. "I am more aware of my areas of struggle, and more compassionate for those who struggle. This is no longer just a degree for me." Lending a helping hand to others for support, children or adults, is what refuels Jenica's life and passion for teaching.




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