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Continuing Studies

Student Voices

  • Melissa Euler ’16
    Melissa Euler ’16

Melissa Euler ’16


Burlington, Wisconsin


Management, Marketing

Melissa Euler has spent nearly 20 years working in the financial industry — first as a teller with several banking institutions, and now as a consumer loan specialist for Community State Bank in Union Grove, Wisconsin.

She loves the industry and her job, but something was missing. She wanted her bachelor’s degree.

“I knew I wanted a business degree, because it leads to new opportunities,” she explains. She had taken a few college courses after graduating from high school back in 1998, but she soon realized she needed a full-time job for the benefits and paycheck. “After many years of feeling like something was missing, I chose to go back to school.”

Melissa graduated from Carthage in 2016 with a bachelor of arts degree in management and marketing — a double major worth every late night studying.

“The best day was Commencement Day,” she says. “After 3-1/2 years, I finally made it. All the hard work, the late nights studying, and juggling work and school finally paid off.

“Would I do anything differently? No,” she says now. “Would I do it again? Absolutely. The price one pays for an education is never too much. Life is short, and all of us should follow our dreams, no matter how big or small some may think they are. What matters is that you decide what you do with your life. Getting your education is your first step, and Carthage is a great school to have your dreams made.”

What made you choose to study at Carthage?

“I chose Carthage because of its reputation and curriculum for adult students. Carthage is an amazing school, from the advisors, to the professors, and to your fellow students. The courses offered by the adult ed program fit my life. Being able to see myself and my fellow students grow along the way made it all worth it.”

What campus resources were most helpful to you?

“The Writing Center and Career Services were most helpful to me. Use the Writing Center for all of your papers; this will help you in the long term to become a better writer. They assist you from your draft all the way to your final paper, giving you great insight on why you should make changes.”

“Career Services is another very useful tool available to students,” Melissa continues. Career Services will help you perfect your resume, find career opportunities, and prepare for interviews with tips and mock interviews. “Those are great tools both during and after school.”

What is your favorite spot on campus?

“My favorite spot on campus is anywhere I can sit and look out at Lake Michigan. This was mostly by Kissing Rock or outside of the David A. Straz, Jr. Center, sitting on a bench when I made the time between classes. For some reason, I have always loved water. It has always been a calming source for me, whether it’s a lake, a river, a waterfall, an ocean, or rain falling. All of these sounds — from the calming waves of a lake or river, to the sounds of crashing ocean waves against the shore, to the sound of a hard rain fall — make me calm and relaxed. Being calm and relaxed got me through some long days and nights of studying.”

With all the online degree programs available today, why did you choose Carthage?

“Before I transferred to Carthage, I was used to taking several online courses. However, as wonderful as those are, it is always great to have a face-to-face course so you can interact with peers, professors, and other students. When you are taking online classes, you miss out on some great interaction, different ways to do and think about things, and how each person brings their own unique skills to class.”

How did you juggle course work with your other responsibilities?

“When it comes to juggling school, work, and outside activities, you just need to prioritize your schedule and assignments,” Melissa says.

She used her lunch hours to study, take tests, or grab a quick nap for a boost of energy. “I also used that time to reflect on what I had completed so far, and what still needed to be done. If there was a paper due, I worked extra hard on that and had to put my outside life on hold for the time being. Finishing my degree was my priority. If that meant putting my friends second and school first, that is what I needed to do during that time.

“I always say, ‘Work hard to play hard’ in order to achieve what you want in life,” she continues. “Even on my travels while I was attending classes, I used my time on the airplane or beach time to complete assignments and contact colleagues. If you put your heart in all you do, you will have the feeling of achievement and relief that you made it, and you can move forward to your next course or assignment. Before you know it, graduation day has arrived!”

Career goal

“My goal is to complete my MBA with an emphasis on human resource management. I have always loved working with and helping people achieve their work goals. The HR emphasis will guide me to helping others in an organizational setting, and give me the tools and confidence to be a great role model and mentor to colleagues.

“I am thrilled, nervous, and overwhelmed, but I know achieving my MBA will make me a better leader and mentor for others. I look forward to this new challenge.”

Favorite professor

“My favorite professor was Mr. Gillespie. Not only is he a great teacher, he is a great man. He is kind, and he really cares that his students do the best they can. He works with you on a personal level to make sure you understand a topic. He is genuinely concerned with all of his students’ learning, so you get the most bang for your buck in your Carthage education.”

Favorite class

“My favorite classes were the human resources courses. I love helping and working with people. I love to teach people new things and guide them into what they feel best suits them. I like to get people out of their comfort zones and trying new things.

“I try to tell others to not be afraid to fail at something. At least you can say that you tried it and you don’t like it. It is a learning tool to see you want to do and what you can do.”

Toughest class

“The toughest classes for me were the religion courses. I was not raised in a family that attended church, unless it was for a wedding or a funeral, so it was hard to understand some of the verses and books of the Bible and other discussions in those courses.”

She got through it by asking questions in class, talking to friends to get a better perspective, and asking questions of her professors and tutors after class. 

Biggest surprise so far?

“The biggest surprise is seeing yourself develop and grow into this person who can do anything, as long as you put your heart and mind into it.” 

Advice for other students considering your major

“My advice is to GO! Never feel or think that you are too young or too old to achieve your dream of getting a college degree. If you feel it is something you want to pursue, do it. Life is way too short for any of us in this world to not shoot for the stars. Your journey will most definitely be what seems like a long and difficult process, but it really is worth it. It really is easy to do — as long as you put your heart and mind into it.”

You might need to take a break at some point, and that’s OK, she says.

“I was one who had to take a couple of breaks between sessions. For me, I knew my mind and heart just needed a break. I told myself, ‘It’s OK,’ and then went full-force until the end. I was working full time and had a full-time course load. You just need to take time to breathe.”

Before you know it, it will be your turn to cross the stage and receive your diploma, she said. “You realize that you will be graduating, and you know that memories were created and more will follow. The day I got to walk across that stage at graduation was a day I will cherish forever, and you will, too. Cherish everything you do in your days at Carthage. Have fun and good luck!”

  • Quick Facts

    • Carthage is named a Best Midwestern College by The Princeton Review (2018), a designation given to only 25 percent of four-year schools.

    • Scheduled to open in fall 2018, a new residential tower will offer suite-style housing and two floors of shared campus spaces for gaming, cooking, group meetings, or quiet studying. Learn more about The Tower

    • You’re going to need brain fuel. Grab a morning coffee and a snack and Starbucks or Einstein Bros. Bagels. Later, meet friends at “The Caf,” where the specials change daily but the staples are constant, or swing through “The Stu” for wings, a burrito, or a sub. A new option, Carthage Cash, even covers some off-campus meals.

    • 96% of Carthage alumni report that they have secured a job or are continuing their studies six months after graduation. Visit Career Services.

    • 91% of employers say critical thinking, communication, and problem-solving skills matter more than your major when it comes to career success. Learn more about how the liberal arts prepare you for a successful career.

    • Lots of schools wear the four-year label. Carthage stands behind it. 95% of Carthage graduates earn their degrees in four years. Learn more

    • Oscars. Emmys. Tonys. Golden Globes. The playwrights we’ve brought in have them. Each year, the Carthage Theatre Department commissions an original script by a renowned playwright for its New Play Initiative. Carthage students then work with the writer to stage it. 

    • As a freshman in the highly selective Honors Program, learn how to gain expertise in anything from music to forest ecology. After that, tackle a contemporary social, economic, or political problem. If you like, you can live on an Honors-only floor of a Carthage residence hall. 

    • In 2016, 2017 and 2018, Carthage was named a top producer of Fulbright Scholars by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.

    • Things look new at Carthage because they are. Our athletic and recreation center, student union, computer labs, audiovisual production suite, and numerous residence halls have all been constructed or newly renovated in the last 10 years. Our new science center caps it off.

    • Carthage offers majors, minors and concentrations in more than 50 areas of study, from archaeology to athletic training, neuroscience to music theatre.

    • Our Summer Undergraduate Research Experience offers select students a research budget, one-on-one mentoring with a professor, and 10 weeks of analyzing, deciphering — and getting paid.

    • So the lake is kind of a focal point, but there’s a lot more to love about our campus — like the fact that our 80-acre campus is also an arboretum and wildlife sanctuary. Focused on keeping campus lush forever, we plant between 50 and 75 new trees every year from a variety of species.

    • Carthage was founded in 1847. That’s more than 170 years of leaders, makers, and go-getters going out and going forth. Read more about Carthage’s rich history.

    • More than 90 percent of our students receive financial aid, a hefty chunk of which is scholarships and grants — including $1.25 million annually from the Presidential Scholarship Competition and numerous Merit Scholarships. Learn what’s available.

    • Abraham Lincoln was an early Trustee of the College, and U.S. Secretary of State John Hay was a Carthage alum. The two still have a proud place on our campus. Spend some time with them in our Sesquicentennial Plaza. On warm days you’ll find professors leading their classes here.

    • Come to Carthage; hear yourself think — think … think …
      Legend has it that Sesquicentennial Plaza holds a perfect echo. Just stand with both your feet on the “1847,” face Straz, and start talking. “You’re the only one who can hear you, but you’ll be crystal clear,” promises English and theatre alumna Mikaley Osley.

    • Our Great Lake provides Carthage students with some amazing views. Think classes on the beach, lake views from the lab, and sunrises from your dorm room. “I love waking up in the morning with the sun shining off the lake. Nothing compares to the view in the morning,” says biology and neuroscience major Ann O’Leary.

    • Carthage awards up to 30 Presidential Scholarships each year, which range from 75% tuition up to full tuition, room, and board. Learn more.

    • For a full decade, NASA has selected Carthage students to conduct research aboard its zero-gravity aircraft. Lately, the stakes have risen. A team of underclassmen is grinding to prepare a tiny but powerful Earth-imaging satellite for launch to the International Space Station. Learn more about the space sciences at Carthage

    • Carthage is the only college or university in the Midwest where every freshman takes a full-year sequence of foundational texts of the Western intellectual tradition. Learn about the Carthage core.

    • With a student-faculty ratio of 12:1, your professors will know who you are. They will also know who you want to be — and how to get you there. Meet our faculty.

    • There are more than 120 student organizations on campus, from Amnesty International to Chemistry Club, to Frisbee and Latin Belly Dancing. See how easy it is to get involved.

    • True story: There are more than 27 art galleries, a dozen museums, and nine theatres within 25 miles of Carthage. Some highlights: The nationally recognized Racine Art Museum, the world-renowned Art Institute of Chicago, and the Milwaukee Art Museum. Learn more about our location.

    • What’s better than one professor? Two professors. What’s better than two professors? Two professors from totally different fields teaching a single class. There’s debate. Discussion. Differing perspectives. This is where the magic happens. That’s why every student takes a Carthage Symposium.

    • Imagine presenting your original research at an international conference — as an undergraduate. Carthage is dedicated to undergraduate research. Learn more about current opportunities.

    • You can’t hide here — not with only 17 other students in the classroom with you. That’s going to be rough some mornings. But later, when you’re able to argue your point of view thoughtfully, express your opinions succinctly, and meet challenges head-on, without fear … Yep, you’ll thank us.

    • Carthage is ranked No. 5 in the country for student participation in short-term study abroad. Every J-Term, hundreds of students travel all over the world on faculty-led study tours. Imagine a month in Sweden, Rome, Cuba, Senegal, India, Japan …