Tuesday, August 28, 2018

From A Catering Job To Catering To Her Education – Meet Alex Georgiou

As the summer months come to a quick close and school starts back up for many, we have one more incredible 2018 Peirce Graduate to feature for the summer series. Alex Georgiou, an inspirational and determined alumna, shares her story of perseverance, hard work and accomplishment.

When Alex started considering career paths in high school, her immediate passions drew her to the music industry, specifically music education. After auditions and applications, Alex was accepted into a liberal arts school and received a merit scholarship to play the euphonium. Unfortunately, as life does, it threw a curve ball that required Alex to question every plan she had set.

“My excitement to go off to college, far from home, was halted when my father was diagnosed with cancer,” explained Alex. “I had to make a decision – delay my first year of college to be with my family, potentially losing my scholarship – or moving 500 miles away from my family at this difficult time.”

After much debate and support from her family, Alex decided to head off to college where she stayed for about two years. After these few semesters, Alex found it too difficult to be far from home under such circumstances, so she moved back to Philadelphia and joined the workforce.

Fortunately, her father beat the cancer and was on the road to recovery as Alex continued to work hard with multiple jobs in the Philadelphia region. Among the multiple jobs, there was one in particular with a catering company that led her to more than she could have ever imagined.

“For years I did catering service and got to know Peirce by serving students, alumni, faculty and staff at large events like the Alumni Spring Reception. It was at these events that I learned a lot about the Peirce Family – the events were always diverse, accepting and full of joy,” said Alex.

With this new exposure to a college that really worked for working adults, Alex began to contemplate going back to school to finally earn the bachelor’s degree she had always wanted, “When I started to think about finishing my degree, I was encouraged to consider Peirce by my contacts in the school, and having come to know the people here I felt like it would be a great fit.”

In January 2015, Alex officially enrolled with the College and was thrilled to immediately discover her previous coursework would not go unappreciated as Peirce’s Integrated Leadership (now: Organizational Leadership) program was able to accept most of her previously earned credits and set her up for an efficient degree completion process.

During Alex’s time as a student, she said what she valued the most were the people who surrounded her not only in the classroom, but in her outside-the-classroom experiences, as well. Alex was able to gain knowledge about interpersonal dynamics and organizational dynamics, which she could directly apply to the workforce. In addition to these soft skills, Alex gained a well-connected and caring family, “I value the people that I met, the network that I’ve developed both with Peirce faculty and staff and the students.”

It was with this supportive Peirce community that Alex was able to keep going as another difficult time entered her life. Alex's mom, Polly, was, unfortunately, diagnosed with cancer in 2017. Like Alex, Polly had returned to college as an adult and knew the balance it took to manage all aspects of life. With that, Polly encouraged her daughter to keep going, despite what she was facing. She made Alex promise to stay in school and to continue chasing her dream.

"I reallocated my time so I could help with my mom's care and continue with my classes. Without the Peirce Fit® program I don't know how I would have been able to manage everything,” Alex said.

Now, as a proud 2018 graduate, Alex reflects back on her time with Peirce and provides encouragement for all those considering taking the leap of faith to head back to school. “Do it! Schedule your time! Not only for your classwork but also for yourself – you need to take care of yourself so you can succeed in school and so you can take care of everybody else in your life,” explained Alex, “I struggle with keeping things balanced, but completing my degree helped me prove to myself that I can be effective, professional and that I can do it!”

And Alex sure did do it! In June 2018, Alex crossed the commencement stage officially earning her Bachelor of Science in Integrated Leadership. But that was not all she accomplished, she also graduated Summa Cum Laude and was awarded the 2018 Outstanding Student Award. Alex had finally achieved her educational dreams surrounded and supported by her immediate family, including Alex’s extremely proud mother, Polly, who is doing well these days, and now her new and ever-growing Peirce family.

As Alex officially enters the workforce with a degree in hand, she is happy to report she didn’t leave Peirce for too long. “I recently became a full-time team member in the Student Financial Services department here at Peirce. I support students and staff as an Administrative Coordinator.” As Alex gives a lot of credit for her new job to her education, she also gives a shout-out to the department where she was a work study during her college experience, “I learned a great deal from Career Development Services and Leslie and Sharon are the best. All students should make an appointment to further develop their career goals and preparation. They helped me so much!”

Congratulations to Alex on not only completing her much-desired bachelor’s degree, but also landing a full-time position! We wish Alex nothing but success as she continues chasing her goals one degree at a time.