Originally from Pennsylvania, Rachel Farrow’s connection to the University of Iowa started years ago.  She first attended the Young Writer’s Studio during high school.  Her experience was so positive that she applied and was admitted to the on-campus Journalism and Mass Communication program for fall 2012.  Unfortunately, Farrow became a victim of domestic violence in her senior year of high school and was unable to return to college until many years later.

Escaping her situation was not easy, but finishing her education was always one of Farrow’s main goals.  She was able to complete her associate degree at a community college in Pennsylvania where she lives.  She worked several jobs in the news media field, but her personal experiences related to abuse had changed her.  She wanted to help other victims like herself and to do that she needed further education.

Now married and in a healthy relationship, it was her husband who said, “What did you always want to do, before everything happened?”  Immediately Farrow said, “Go to Iowa.”  Picking up and moving her life halfway across the country was not an option, so she asked about online degree programs.  That is when Farrow found her way to a Bachelor of Liberal Studies (BLS) degree at the University of Iowa.

 According to Farrow, “One in three women will be victims of domestic violence in their lifetimes.”  “Though I was working in the media field, I realized the stories I wanted to share weren’t current headline news, but rather the stories of other survivors and victims just like myself.”  Those stories need to be told.

Farrow’s Iowa experience was entirely online.  “All of my professors and classmates did a great job of making me feel a part of the greater UI community.  I even made friends in some of my classes.”  Farrow acknowledges the biggest challenge in taking online courses was the lack of organic conversation that comes with face-to-face learning, but the use of technology can make up for that.  Farrow urges other students not to be afraid of the online format.  “Professors want you to succeed and understand you are juggling a real life outside of school.” 

Farrow will graduate from the University of Iowa in December 2019 and when she does she will walk across the stage to receive her degree.  Farrow says, “When I earn that degree—with my own hard work—and walk across that stage as a Hawkeye, I will be able to tell other victims that I am living proof that there is life after abuse, and your dreams don’t die at the hands of the abusers.  I will have reclaimed my childhood dream.”