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ASU Online history grad decides to follow her heart

Alexandra Oldfield wearing an ASU sweatshirt, holding a plate of dumplings and an umbrella.

Alexandra Oldfield. Courtesy photo

May 07, 2024

Editor’s note: This story is part of a series of profiles of notable spring 2024 graduates.

Alexandra Oldfield always had an interest in history, but it wasn’t until she was on bed rest after a heart procedure, when she had ample time to herself, that she understood she wasn’t just interested in history — she was ravenous for it. 

“My husband suggested I watch Showtime’s 'The Tudors,'” Oldfield said. “I had always been fascinated with history, but this show blew that casual relationship into a full-on obsession. I devoured the series and was left with so many questions: What was real? What was dramatized? As an avid reader, it didn’t take long for my nightstand stack to be overwhelmed by history books about this dynasty.” 

When she applied to ASU as an online student living in Virginia, Oldfield thought she might pursue an education degree with an emphasis in history, but after only a few classes, she knew she wanted more. 

“I decided that if I am going to invest this much time and energy in my education, I want to chase my passion,” Oldfield said. “I wanted to understand history from a vast perspective.” 

So, she changed her major to history, and the rest is — well, history. 

The School of Historical, Philosophical and Religious Studies interviewed Oldfield to share her ASU journey. 

Question: Why did you choose ASU?

Answer: I chose ASU Online because I was entirely supportive of my husband’s naval career, but I knew I wanted something more for myself beyond “Alex the Wife” and “Alex the Mother” — something that was just for me. ASU Online allowed me to chase that ambition no matter where we were stationed.

Q: What's something you learned while at ASU (in the classroom or otherwise) that surprised you or changed your perspective?

A: Everything has changed my perspective! My history courses opened my eyes to the plight of so many — the struggles and triumphs of humans in general.

As a military-kid-turned-military-spouse, I’ve been subjected to many different cultures and people, but my time with ASU has intensified that openness and willingness to learn about the world outside of my personal community. (By taking courses) that required me to go out and experience other cultural holidays and events, I discovered how much celebrating, respecting and learning cultural differences means to me. Our world is massive, and the people that make it up are beautiful. I have been able to pass this on to my son and husband. Sharing these experiences has enriched our relationship with the world and its people.

Q: What's the best piece of advice you'd give to other students?

A: Want it! Want that personally owned success more than you’ve ever wanted anything else. This is your story, your journey.

Q: If someone gave you $40 billion to solve one problem on our planet, what would you do?

A: This is hard. The issues that I would want to address are not ones that can be easily resolved with money.

I want people to care about one another. I want to see a resolution in cultural and societal issues that have struck a hard disconnect between us. I want there to be more empathy and compassion, a true desire to understand one another and a desire to elevate one another in every aspect of life. 

Q. Is there anything else about your time as a student at ASU that you would like to share?

A: ASU allowed me to see the potential in myself. I broke through many self-doubts and personal fears. I thrived in every aspect of the term and wouldn’t change a single moment of my time as a student at ASU. My view of myself changed in ways I will never be able to fully express.

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