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Nurse Practitioner Student Spotlight: Brady Aderholt

by South University, Online Programs
November 13, 2014

When Brady Aderholt wasn’t sure what college major or career would be right for him, he did what many of us do when we need help. He turned to his family for advice. Brady’s mom thought about it for a while and then said, “You were raised on a farm fixing engines and fixing tractors. Why not try fixing people?”

Brady and his daughter

Brady took his mom’s advice and earned his undergraduate degree in nursing. In time, he came to realize that earning a master’s degree could not only help him to improve his finances but also to find a nursing position with regular hours so he could spend more time with his family.

However, once he began applying to schools, he started to worry that his academic struggles from his undergraduate years might hurt his chances of being accepted into a master’s program. It was then that he heard from South University. “South University gave me a chance,” says Brady. “I had almost given up on school, but then they called me and that door opened right back up.”

Before he signed up for online classes, Brady didn’t have the internet and had never owned a computer. Today, Brady has a 4.0 and is nearing completion of a Master of Science in Nursing degree program with a Family Nurse Practitioner specialization.

Turning to Family

Several factors have driven Brady’s success as a student. The first is the support of his family. In addition to the time he spends as a nurse, he works during the week as a carpenter for a family business. “My family has been great. Occasionally I tell them ‘I can’t work today. I’ve got to finish my school work.’ They just say okay, and I lock myself up in the office until I finish what I need to do.”

His wife in particular has been one of his biggest supporters. “Sometimes, in the evenings, I come in exhausted and I tell my wife, ‘I give up. I can’t do this. This is too hard.’ Then, she’ll say, ‘You’re talking crazy. Go to bed and finish your work in the morning.’ So that’s what I do.”

Claiming a Study Space

The second thing he attributes his success to is an old shed that sat behind home. Shortly after being accepted into the MSN program, Brady decided that this building would be his office. He first replaced the walls and wired the electrical. He added a desk, fridge, air conditioning, and a speaker system so he could listen to music while he was studying. “It’s my getaway,” he says. “I do my homework out there so I’m not in the house being distracted by my three-year old. This office is the reason I’m still in school.”

Talking with Support Staff

College logo

Beyond family, Brady says there are others who have been invaluable along this academic journey. He says, “I couldn’t have done this without the staff at South University. I can talk to them about anything. That’s the biggest benefit and first thing I tell anyone when I talk to them about South University.”

“With the other schools I applied to, you always got a recording or you were talking to a computer. With South University, you can just pick up the phone and call. They help you with everything,” he says, jokingly adding that having South University staff members on your side is like having Siri on your iPhone.

Finding a Friend

In addition to the staff, Brady has also found support from his peers, including a student from Denver (far from Brady’s Alabama home) who has been in all but one of his classes. “It’s been great to have that companionship, so I’d say that’s a piece of advice for new students—to find a friend,” he says. “It helps to know that you’re not going through it alone. It doesn’t matter if they’re a million miles away—it’s about knowing that you have someone you can send a text to or wake up in the middle of the night with a phone call about an assignment.”


In honor of National Nurse Practitioner Week, taking place from November 9-15, 2014, South University is excited to share the success stories of students like Brady. We'd also like to recognize and thank the more than 192,000 Nurse Practitioners working in the US for all the important work they do!

Tags: nurse nursing nurse practitioner healthcare student spotlight

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