By Lynn Wybiral and Amy Bennett | March 27, 2017
We’ve all heard the old adage, “If I can do it, you can do it” a million times. It really applies to my pursuit of my bachelor’s degree. My first experience with higher education began in the 1970’s at Ivy Tech. Yep. That was me in the bell bottom pants cruising to college in my ’67 Mustang with the baby blue interior! At the time, my dream was to become an architect. I left school ready for the real world as a draftsman (draftsperson? We weren’t politically correct back then!) with my Associate’s degree in Architectural Design.
Shortly into my first real job came the advent of changing technology. Design that had utilized a T-square began to give way to CAD, computer aided design programs. The computer had been born, and the technology revolution began. Many companies evolved with the changing technology. Others closed their doors. My future changed in the blink of an eye. I lost my job. My T-square was becoming obsolete. What now?
At home was a family to consider. I had a husband and a very young daughter. What were my options? I could seek another job. I could consider additional education. But, there were no “adult programs” at the time. So, I looked for other employment. I did odd jobs and part-time work. It helped pay the bills, but the work certainly was not rewarding. As time passed, I realized that only through additional education would I be satisfied, fulfilled. By the mid 1980’s, I found myself in the admissions office at IUPUI.
My pursuit of earning my Bachelor’s degree took me about 14 years – on and off. Remember. There were no accelerated classes at the time. Each of my courses was taught in 16-week semesters. And, there were very few evening courses. I took classes when I could. Juggling my courses around my family and my work commitments. I had to take time off work to register for classes or to speak with an advisor. But after years of sacrifice and hard work, I had earned my degree. A Bachelor of Arts degree was mine. I had done it. I was proud. I was equipped with new knowledge and new skills.
My job at the time was serving dislocated workers. I assisted hundreds, perhaps thousands, of folks find their way back to gainful employment through education. Rewarding work. Through education, I had found a job that was rewarding! That position transitioned me into my current role. In 2005, I accepted a job as an advisor in Marian’s Adult Programs
at Marian College (now Marian University). I chose the role because the program resonated with me. A program designed for working adults? A program with only evening courses? A program that didn’t make students jump through hurdles? Wow!
Fast forward to 2017. I’m still advising working adults and I still enjoy it. I understand how education changed my life, so it’s amazing for me to help students see the light at the end of the tunnel. Having been an adult student, I get it. I understand the difficulties adult students face, but I also understand that it’s doable especially now that the majority of all MAP courses are offered online. With online classes, you don’t have to put your life on hold. You can go on vacation and not miss a lecture. You can pull out your laptop on your lunch hour and take an exam at work. You can communicate with your fellow students even while you’re at home with a sick child.
So, yes, times have changed. There are college programs that cater to working adults with busy, active lives. You can reach your goal. You can have a better life. Continue to believe, welcome change and persevere. If I can do it, you can do it.