My dearest Pelotonians, it’s Ashley, one of your loyal CCAs, here with Chapter 9 of the What a Thing Chronicles. We have about a week left of September (also known as Recruitember). From our numbers, we can tell that you’re hard at work telling your friends, family and co-workers about PelotonU. Personally, I have had two dreams where I’ve told people about PelotonU. The first wasAngelina Jolie and the second was this family I side-swiped (in my dream, not real life!); my brakes never work in my dreams. That’s how deeply embedded PelotonU is in my subconscious. 

Confession. I’ve never seen Hamilton or listened to the soundtrack. Musicals don’t speak to me, even ones with hip-hop coolness and swagger. Okay, I do like Grease. However, as a consumer of all things pop culture I recognize Hamilton’s impact.

There’s a line in My Shot, “Hey yo, I’m just like my country/I’m young, scrappy and hungry.” That line speaks to me on so many levels, but mainly my journey as an educator. I always say that I’m not supposed to be here. My father did not finish high school. His dad took him out of school as a child to pick cotton. My mother finished high school but did not a complete post-secondary degree. While pregnant with me, she was working and taking nursing classes. She became ill and had to choose work or school. She chose work. My parents were not highly educated, but they valued education. They have a deep respect for teachers, and I know it’s why I fought so hard to become an educator.

But—look around, look around, the Revolution’s happening in New York” – The Schuyler Sisters

I know it’s happening in Austin! College is difficult, especially if you go the “traditional” route. I’m not knocking that route. It was my route, but I had to align the stars for it to work for me. I was young, scrappy and hungry, and I did not know any other way for me to earn my degree. Many of you have families, friends, careers, hobbies, emergencies–all sorts of things going on. As a former professor, I know that traditional route is incredibly unforgiving and rigid; however, the PelotonU model is completely different. Our model takes into account what today’s students need and want to succeed. It’s a model that moves and bends with each student’s journey. In addition, our model is continuously refined.  

That’s what makes PelotonU so wonderfully revolutionary. Yes, you’re part of a revolution. Uh huh, tricorn hats for everybody! It was my first thought when talking to SSF about PelotonU. When I was a professor, I witnessed amazingly brilliant students have a semester lost because of mental health, money issues, critical ill family members and other things beyond their control. It bothered me because the system I worked in did not have a way to help them.

The same way I recognized that PelotonU was the answer, others do too. SSF recently visited Concourse Education, out in the Bay area. Their tagline is, “Earn Your BA. Without The BS.” Yaaaas! *finger snaps* SSF calls them our cousins because, like us, they are employing a similar model. Sarah also got to share about our work in front of leaders from around the nation who are trying to ensure parents can go back to college and earn a degree so that their kiddos have an even brighter future. An audience member and parent, Melba, was even moved to tears listening to y’alls hard work here in Austin. After the talk, Melba came up to Sarah and shared that she’d been crying because she needed something like PelotonU in her hometown of Elizabeth, New Jersey. Melba recognized that this is the perfect way to level the playing field for a lot of people.

You are at the heart of this revolution. Yes, Hudson may be George Washington crossing the Delaware. (Can you see Hudson in a powdered wig?) And of course, SSF is Alexander Hamilton! I’m John Lawrence. Yet, it’s YOU getting the job done. It’s you mastering projects, reviewing feedback, making edits, helping each other, coming to the office in the rain, making moves in your career that proves this model works and all the hard work is worth it.

Yep, you’re totally not throwing away your shot! Here are some great ways y’all are thriving:

A huge congratulations to Cynthia G. who earned her AA on Monday!!! She did this while working full-time (and then some) as a manager of a Dunkin Donuts, and we’re so proud of her hard work and persistence. 

Karen K. mastered her first project on the first try AND mastered 5 projects since September 1st

Josh Ugarte has mastered his first 2 projects on the first try!

Virginia G. is out here killing it. She mastered 10 comps already in her bachelor’s! Miriam J. is at 25%. Julia E. mastered Mind Your Business on the first try, and Debbie M. mastered Crowdfunding Basics on the first try!

Denise B. created a Facebook Group for WGU students enrolled in the Human Resources program. It already has 62 members! 

What a thing.

Until the next time.

Cheering for you,

Ashley + the PelotonU Team