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A Bachelor of Science Degree Ten Years in the Making

 FIU Online. June 5, 2015

An academically minded athlete, Robert Lucky’s path to FIU Online began in 2002. Lucky’s dream of commencement day and obtaining a Bachelor of Arts in Communication Arts with a track in Organizational Communication studies would take years to be realized. Lucky, who is not a Florida resident, chose to stay close to home his freshman year to spend time with his family and to help out. “After one year, I decided to pursue playing basketball and transferred to Palm Beach Community College in 2003,” says Robert Lucky. His experience at Palm Beach Community College “was fantastic,” according to Lucky, who graduated with an Associates Degree in 2005, in General Studies.

Rather than staying in Florida following graduation to continue his education, Lucky received a basketball scholarship to an institute in Chicago. “The experience was not what I expected,” he says with disappointment, adding “I left after the first semester.” He considered giving up on his education entirely. “I spent the next two years traveling from one city to the next, living out of my suitcases and experiencing life,” he recalls.

Fast-forward to the birth of Lucky’s son in 2008. “That milestone is when everything changed, especially in terms of my priorities,” he says with conviction. 

“I was always a hard worker, but no matter how much success I had, I wasn't able to capitalize on it because of not having a degree.”

Lucky was the first to realize that there was always a "glass ceiling" preventing him from taking his career to new heights. After several family members and his fiancée obtained their degrees, he decided that it was his turn.

“I wanted more for my family and most importantly, I wanted my son to be proud of me.”

In 2012, he decided to return to school, but because of work commitments and family obligations, he knew he would not be able to attend traditional classes. “I needed flexibility, so I looked at almost 20 online programs and the curriculum necessary to graduate. I knew FIU Online was the right choice,” he says. FIU customer service facilitated the admissions process from beginning to end. Since Lucky acquired his Associates Degree from a Florida-based college, all of his credits transferred over. “All I had left to complete were courses associated with my major,” he says.

Originally, Lucky was part of the Business Administration program, but changed his major to Communication Arts because that degree fell more in line with the career path he was headed on. “It was a lot of hard work, but it feels amazing to be done! A thousand pounds have been lifted off of my shoulders,” he says. A full-time employee, full-time student and full-time parent, there were times that were challenging. But unlike some of his previous college experiences, many professors were willing to work with him. Lucky could also turn to his student success coach, Kimberly Noy, when guidance was needed.

“With my responsibilities, there were not enough hours in the day to complete everything. If it were not for the support of my success coach, the faculty, the department staff and my family, I probably would have given up. I'm glad I didn't!”

Ten years after obtaining his Associates Degree, he proudly walked across the stage on graduation day and finally obtained his Bachelor of Arts. Although at first, he wasn’t sure about attending the graduation. At 30 years of age, he was hesitant to walk the commencement ceremony with 20-somethings.

“My fiancée convinced me to attend the commencement by reminding me of the countless hours I put into my studies, on top of all of my other responsibilities. Attending the commencement ceremony was worth every second!” he says. “And I was inspired listening to University President, Mark Rosenberg.”

It was also special because of relationships that had a meaningful impact on his success. “I had the best feeling while shaking the hand of my department chair, seeing her for the first time in person, after our many emails and phone conversations throughout my time at FIU,” says Lucky. He also finally met Kimberly Noy, his success coach, for the first time. 

“This was a fantastic experience that we'll definitely remember. My son had the best time taking pictures in front of the panther outside of the Arena. I'm so happy to be a part of the FIU alumni family now.”