News & Features

OPTIONS Student Keeps Her Life and Goals In Full Swing

posted Jan. 18, 2008

By Anne Shaw Heinrich for The Healthy Planet / Career & Enrichment Guide Section

January, 2008

"Being back in school has really opened my eyes," says Linda Johnson. "I've realized that I'm a lot smarter than I thought I was!"

And she's organized. She has to be. Working full time in accounts payable for a law firm in Clayton, Johnson, who lives in Arnold, devotes her Tuesday and Thursday evenings to classes she's taking in South County through the Fontbonne University OPTIONS Gateway program. Gateway is designed for working adults with little or no college credit to give them a jumpstart toward a bachelor's degree. Taking two courses at a time allows adults to earn 48 credits in a short 19 months.

It was during a job search that Johnson discovered how much she needed a bachelor's degree to have choices with her employment.

"There aren't many jobs out there today that don't require a bachelor's degree," she says. OPTIONS came highly recommended by friends and co-workers, so she dove right in. Johnson came to the program with 15 credit hours from a community college, and says she has found in Fontbonne just what she needs: flexibility and the chance to be in class with other adults who are driven to get their degrees.

"I really like it. We relate to each other very well," she says of her classmates.

Many, like Johnson, started as traditional students years ago, but found something missing. For Johnson, the missing piece was determination. But she has plenty of that now.

"Now I'm in school because that's where I want to be," she says.

Johnson, a single mother with a teenage daughter living at home, works hard to keep progressing toward her bachelor's degree. Having just begun OPTIONS Gateway in July 2007, she's on target for finishing the core early in 2009. Then she'll be ready to continue on with the OPTIONS BBA. She's even started thinking about the steps she will need to take in order to get a CPA.

She does much of her studying on weekends and during lunch hours.

"Time management is key," says Johnson, who still finds time to go swing dancing at least once a week. "I've been swing dancing for about five years. I just love the music!"

With its main campus located in Clayton, the university has also established OPTIONS classroom sites in North County, South County, Chesterfield and downtown St. Louis.

Fontbonne University has been a provider of high-quality educational programs for more than 80 years. OPTIONS is designed specifically to accommodate the needs of busy, working adults with convenient and accelerated undergraduate and graduate degree programs.

For more information, call 314-863-2220 or visit

with permission, copyright (2008) The Healthy Planet