1. What was your motivation for returning to RIT to complete your degree?
I have always had the intention of going back to finish my degrees, but I allowed circumstances outside my control to dominate my decision-making process. First it was finances, then it was time, then it was just plain fear.
My realization that education continues beyond college really shifted into higher gears back when I was rehired by IBM in 2018. I pushed myself to be much more in touch with the modern technologies that is currently being deployed, earning dozens of certificates from a variety of sources in a number of fields, mostly technical.
Overcoming my fear, including wondering if RIT will be scolding me for not doing this sooner, were a challenge, but I finally reached out to NTID Admission, which then referred me to SOIS, and the rest is history.
2. How was your college experience different the second time around? How were you treated? What did you gain?
In this Pandemic age, I was not fortunate enough to be able to interact with peers on campus, but the staff have been beyond wonderful in their online interactions. It does help that I have been dealing with the real world for so many years, I had an innate understanding of the process needed, and the requirement to follow up on everything to be sure it is aligned with my goals. This was a vast difference compared to my first go-around, fresh out of high school, and naively thinking that things would be smooth-sailing the entire way.
It is not a dig at RIT, or the education system in general, it is just life – things do not work perfectly in all aspects, and our needs are so diverse to the point that resolving it require some fitness. Being proactive allow for this experience to be smooth-sailing.
3. How have you benefited from completing your degree?
Pride. I am in a wonderful position in my life where this degree is not necessary to prove myself as a successful person, but having such pride is important to me, especially with two adult children who I am encouraging to find their own future.
4. What advice would you give someone else who is thinking to return after a long absence?
Just ask. A lot of unknowns become known once the questions you have been burning in your head on and off all those years. Even if it have been 23 years, there are options available to finish your degree.
5. Who or what inspires you?
I am not the sort of person who get inspired by others, but I do want to put forward a good example to my kids and godkids – that being active in working on your future goals will bear fruits.
6. How did you become “reacquainted” with RIT?/How did you first hear about SOIS/Roar to the Finish?
I vaguely read an article several years ago regarding the SOIS program, but did not act on it. It was the NTID Admission office that referred me to this program.
7. Give a shout-out to someone at RIT that has helped you in your journey either when you were first here or when you returned.
Sydney Wyse. She, along with Michelle Firnstein have been an excellent repository for my questions to be answered. They deserve all of the recognitions that comes their way.
8. Anything else you’d like to share about your journey or your RIT experience.
Just do it. Ask the questions, and go from there. Even if the options are not viable for you right now, it might change soon enough.