Using education for the pursuit of happiness: Anne Arendt

Going to college is a decision that will shape your entire life. Many find themselves choosing majors based off careers they thought they’d enjoy. But, sometimes students discover that the major they chose might not be right for them. Instead of staying her course, Anne Arendt, interim associate dean for student affairs over the engineering and technology college, decided to change her focus to ensure her studies were in areas that not only enhanced her career, but also appeased her curious appetite.

“Back when I was an undergraduate at the University of Minnesota, I had actually pursued elementary education. However, when it got to the final year where you teach a course, I realized the field was not right for me,” Arendt said.

Though her plan changed, she continued forward with her degree and opted for the shortest  path to a degree, which happened to be an English degree. While pursuing it, Arendt covered her roommates job while they were studying abroad. The job was mail running for the department of medicine. While here, Arendt was offered a full-time position as the accounts assistant, which was her first official office job doing accounting work.

Over the years, Arendt’s innate curiosity showed her and others that she had a knack for database systems, which enabled her to work her way up the accounting chain and afforded her the opportunity to work at a new position  with the network    database systems at Walden University.

Working in this field inspired Arendt to pursue a degree in it. She applied to the Carlson School of Management at the University of Minnesota. Because the program was high tier, Arendt applied to the Master of science in educational change program at Walden University in case she didn’t get in.

“I started my program at Walden first, but then about a semester later, Carlson School accepted me as well.  I really liked the program I was in at Walden so I    I would just do both,” Arendt said. “I received my master of science from Walden first in 1998 and followed it the very next year with my MBA in information systems from Carlson School.”

Arendt holds numerous degrees and certifications such as a bachelor’s in english, master’s in science, master’s in business administration, doctorate of education, certified six sigma black belt, project management professional certificate and commercial building inspector. She accomplished all this while also being a mother to her only child.

The drive behind Arendt’s success is simple: curiosity and her desire to bring about positive change whenever and however. Arendt is an individual whose experiences in life, both good and bad, have shaped her to be the person she is.  Arendt is a perfect example of someone living their life for their enjoyment while never limiting themselves.

“I am more than anything, curious. Life is fascinating and learning is a gift.  As I see it, everything connects to everything else.  That said, if I were to do it over again I think I may have gone in to legal studies somehow,” Arendt said.  “I say that now though, and my lens is different than it was then.  For things I have not done, I was not able to save my relationship with my son’s father, which was probably the greatest emotional challenge of my life and took years to get myself back from.  In many ways though that experience also shaped me.“

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