Accounting Graduate Finds Self-Discipline Comes With Online Degree

Katie Bailey's family cheers after she received her framed diploma June 29 from Gary Peters of the Sam M. Walton College of Business on the Razorbug Diploma Tour. Bailey's visit from U of A staff and faculty took place on Horseshoe Lake, about 25 miles south of West Memphis.
University of Arkansas

Katie Bailey's family cheers after she received her framed diploma June 29 from Gary Peters of the Sam M. Walton College of Business on the Razorbug Diploma Tour. Bailey's visit from U of A staff and faculty took place on Horseshoe Lake, about 25 miles south of West Memphis.

Katie Bailey gained more than knowledge of accounting processes when she earned an online degree in accounting from the U of A.

She got more than a piece of paper, also, and more than a visit on the Razorbug Diploma Tour.

Bailey said she learned self-discipline that she is determined to use in many ways. She can apply it to the real world, she said.

"It helped me hone in on my self-discipline, I would say, because you're not going to class, you don't have the professor there, your peers right next to you, so you really have to have a lot of self-discipline about it," Bailey said of her experience studying online. "I would say I took that to my job. So, whenever I had a project due, it was already built into me from the university; I knew how to get a project done. I would set aside the time, and it really helped me out in that regard."

The sun was setting June 29 as Gary Peters, former chair of the Department of Accounting at the Sam M. Walton College of Business, presented Bailey's framed diploma to her lakeside in eastern Arkansas in front of her family. Boats passed by on Horseshoe Lake in Crittenden County, and insects droned during the last June stop on the Razorbug Diploma Tour celebrating graduates of U of A online degree programs. Peters has since taken a new position as senior associate dean of the Walton College.

The presentations during two weeks in June featured as a backdrop the Razorbug, a 2005 Volkswagen Beetle converted to look like a Razorback, with tusks, snout, razor-edged, spine, hooves and curly tail. U of A faculty and staff drove more than 1,850 miles presenting diplomas to graduates of online degree programs. Celebrations took place in their yards, their workplaces and beside hometown murals. A final event Aug. 17 at the Walton College Executive Education facility in downtown Little Rock added another 10 graduates to the tour roster for a total of 23, along with 14 academic presenters from the Fayetteville campus and more than 2,200 Arkansas miles traveled.

More Than a Degree

The degree was important, but just part of what Bailey gained, she said. The online program taught her she was the only person who could do the work and set the schedule, so she needed to be intentional with the time she set aside for studying, homework and tests.

"Really focus on the fact that this is not only going to give you your degree, which is a wonderful thing, but it'll also give you self-discipline, and it will help you in your career in the future," she said.

The self-discipline helped her avoid making excuses and to follow through on the plans she set, Bailey said. It made her more independent by helping her rely more on herself and to dedicate herself to her tasks, she said.

She recommends an online degree to others who may be considering it. She called it an incredible opportunity.

At home on the eastern edge of the state, Bailey was born across the Tennessee state line in Memphis, but she has spent her entire life in Arkansas, graduating from Marion High School just north of West Memphis. She works as a tax associate at CBIZ MHM, LLC in Memphis, preparing tax returns for clients including individuals, business partnerships, corporations, and estates and trusts. She plans to take the "business environment and concepts" section of the Certified Public Accountant exam before the end of the year.

Bailey started her college career at Arkansas State University in Jonesboro as a nursing major. It was after CBIZ hired her that she decided to switch her major to accounting. And she found the U of A offers a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration in accounting delivered online by Walton College.

"It motivated me to go back to college and get my degree, so I went online and saw that y'all offered the online program, and it fit my schedule perfectly, so I immediately applied," she said. "Now, it's on to the CPA exam. That'll be fun as well, a whole different ball game. I'm super excited. I stay busy, that's for sure. It's a big accomplishment. I'm super proud of myself."

More than 550 students graduated from online degree programs last spring. The U of A offers more than 90 online degree, certificate, microcertificate and licensure programs. They can be viewed at U of A ONLINE. The Global Campus supports U of A colleges and schools in the development and delivery of online, distance and workforce education programs and courses. It provides instructional design services, technology services and assistance with marketing, recruiting and strategic academic development.

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