Motivation, resourcefulness, and grit are qualities critical to accomplishing anything in life. Completing a degree is no different, and these are qualities common amongst our C2C students and graduates. Zetella Gooch is one such example, and her story shows how dreams can come true with persistence and a little help from C2C.

Despite completing over 120 credit hours at Jackson State University, Zetella’s dream of a degree was put on hold to raise her three daughters. When one of her daughters developed health issues, Zetella knew she needed a flexible career that would allow her to spend time with her children. This resulted in Zetella starting her own event planning business – Gooch Consulting Event Services.

“I tried going back to summer school after my first daughter was born,” explains Gooch, “but my daughter had health issues, and the first day with the sitter she had to be rushed to the hospital. It was then I knew school would have to be put off.”

Although taking care of her family and running her business put her degree on hold, Zetella never gave up on making her degree a reality.

A life-changing night

Fast forward more than twenty years after her first attempt at earning a degree at Jackson State. Zetella came home from a long but fulfilling day of running her business. She was relaxing in front of the TV when she heard the governor speaking about the Complete 2 Compete program.

The governor described how there were tens of thousands of Mississippi adults who had left college without graduating. He went on to say that many of those same adults were much closer than they thought to a degree and some had enough credits to graduate without any additional coursework! Zetella perked up and went straight to the computer.

Although Zetella attended Jackson State, she was interested in finding a pathway to a degree through Mississippi State. Her online application connected her to a C2C Coach at MSU Meridian, Kristi Dearing. After reviewing her transcripts Kristi discovered that with the new degree programs that were in place as a result of C2C, Zetella already had enough credits to earn her bachelor’s degree from Jackson State. Kristi helped Zetella get in contact with her colleagues at Jackson State, and they successfully applied her earned credits. Zetella was awarded her bachelor’s degree from Jackson State in the Spring of 2018.

But Zetella wasn’t going to stop there.

“Truthfully, my bachelor’s degree was just the first step,” adds Gooch. “I always dreamt about getting a master’s degree, but I needed my bachelor’s first. C2C made it possible." Zetella then quickly added, "But let’s be clear – they didn’t give me anything. Kristi and C2C were exactly what I needed – they listened to what my goals were, then showed me how to apply what I had already accomplished [so that I could pursue my master's degree].”

After the C2C program helped Zetella graduate from Jackson State, with no additional coursework, she immediately applied to the master’s in business administration (MBA) program at MSU Meridian.

Wait, wait, there's more

Zetella Gooch has never been afraid of hard work, so she didn’t flinch at the idea of driving 1.5 hours to Meridian, spending two nights in a hotel, and then returning home to her family, every week, for an entire year. She could have completed the MBA courses online, but she knew that, for her, completing the coursework in person would make her a better student.

“I dreamt of a degree for two reasons – first, to serve as an example for my kids, and second, because I felt I needed it to be considered an equal by the people I was doing business with. And I actually did it – I got my second degree. I’m living proof that you’re never too old to do great things.”

A woman on a mission

After earning two degrees, Zetella remains unstoppable. On any given day, she spends 12-15 hours running her event planning company. She serves as the sitting president of DECA in Mississippi, an international organization dedicated to helping students become better leaders. In addition to that, she actively promotes Business Networking International (BNI) and helps start BNI chapters across Mississippi.

To top it all off, she is now pursuing a THIRD degree – in Strategic Leadership.

“Starting with Kristi and C2C, I’ve had such a great educational experience,” says Gooch, “I didn’t want it to end. So, I’m going after another degree.”

“If I can do it, anyone can”

Zetella Gooch will be the first to tell you that the C2C program changed her life.

“I know there are so many other people out there just like me,” adds Gooch. “I know what it’s like to feel like you’ve worked so hard, but don’t have a degree to show for it. I’m so proud of myself. I did it. You can too.

“Knowledge is power. Getting more and more of it opens doors and makes you feel empowered to make a better future for you and your family. Complete 2 Compete is the perfect name… because you really do have to complete your degree to compete in the world today.”

“Do yourself a favor. Call C2C.”

Zetella’s right. It’s never too late to complete your degree and pursue your dreams. C2C provides resources and support to help Mississippi adults go back to college and complete their degrees. From the guidance of C2C Coaches to the flexibility of the University Studies degree, to financial assistance through the C2C Grant, this life-changing program is here to provide support for you every step of the way – from enrollment through degree completion.

Contact C2C today and find out how close you are to completing your degree.