Turning Your Dreams Into Reality

You’ve probably been there. You had a personal goal you wanted to achieve, but then life took an unexpected turn. Your dream still exists, and now the question is when will you be able to achieve it. 

When Heather Daugherty-Wood graduated from The Ohio State University in 1997 with a bachelor’s degree in dental hygiene, she got the opportunity to be a clinical instructor in the College of Dentistry. Almost immediately, she realized her dream was to obtain her master’s in dental hygiene and ultimately teach. 

“I loved the connection with students and patients when I was teaching at Ohio State,” Daugherty-Wood said. “But, life takes its turns and I moved to Chicago for my husband’s job.”

For years Daugherty-Wood waited for the time where she would be able to pursue her dream. She knew she wanted to get her master’s degree at Ohio State, but without living in Columbus she had to patiently wait. She worked as a dental hygienist, spent time with her family and raised three children.

Then, she got the news she had been waiting for. Ohio State created an online Master of Dental Hygiene program

“At the time, I was living in Illinois and knew I needed to be in the program!” Daugherty-Wood said. “I applied and joined the first cohort of the program. Finally, I felt like I was making my dream come true. Since my husband traveled for work and we had three children to raise, I knew the online format would provide me the flexibility I needed. Plus, I was going to get my master’s degree from Ohio State, which was what I wanted all along.”

She pursued her education while still living in Illinois. The addition of synchronous classes gave her an opportunity to get to know her faculty and fellow students, while still providing the flexibility she needed for her busy schedule.

“I wanted to get my degree from Ohio State, and nothing else was really going to do it for me,” Daugherty-Wood said. “Living in another state and getting the degree I had always dreamt of was surreal.”

Upon graduation in 2015, she received the next opportunity of a lifetime – to teach dental hygiene students at Ohio State. She moved her family to Columbus, the city she had always loved. 

“As a mom, it was difficult to move my whole family for something that was important to me,” Daugherty-Wood said. “But, then I thought ‘You know my kids are seeing me achieving a goal I set for myself.’ and that’s pretty amazing.”

Now, she’s finally achieved her dreams – a master’s degree from Ohio State and her dream job teaching dental hygiene students. 

“I would say if there’s something you want in life, if you have a goal – go for it,” Daugherty-Wood said. “It might seem challenging in the beginning, but if you ask questions and are patient with the process, it will get easier. If you have a dream, go after it! Life is too short to not.”

Are you ready to pursue your dream? Check out all of our online offerings at Ohio State.