by Glen A. Plumley
1st-year Business Administration: Management & Marketing student
Wow. Back to school at 53 years-old.
I was 53 years-old and tired of sales jobs. The job market was flat and I was miserable. I needed a change and a serious one.
My wife and I talked about our options, and she reminded me that I had always wanted to work in the IT field. I didn’t have much experience to go on, just interest, and some time playing around with my computers at home. Occasionally I would make a service call to my mother-in-law (she paid me in brownies).
I had already completed three years toward a Bachelor’s Degree in English, but after having my transcripts evaluated at a 4-year school, it was clear I would have to go 2 more years to get the degree, and even after earning the degree, I couldn’t be sure it would lead to a job. An English Degree is a tough thing to market.
My wife and I started looking at other options, maybe an Associate’s Degree. I got on the internet and started looking for programs. The only one that caught my attention and offered the type of training I was interested in was South Hills School of Business & Technology. I picked up the phone and made the call.
I was set up with an appointment the next day and met with David Andrus, the Admissions Representative. He answered all of my questions and put me in touch with the financial aid department. I went home to think about it; it would mean a big change. With the financial aid package I was eligible for, and a part-time job, I was convinced I could do it.
The financial aid process was simple and smooth. They helped me file a FAFSA (the Free Application for Federal Student Aid) and we found out I was eligible for student loans and Pell Grants. The combination would cover my tuition and books.
A month later, I was sitting in a class room ready to go. The average age of my fellow students was between 18 and 40 years-old. I was older than only one of my instructors. What had I signed up for? From the start of the program I knew I was in for a challenge. The IT program is demanding, which is why so many of its graduates get hired right out of school.
At 53, I was well behind the curve in computer experience, and although I worked hard and had the help of the instructor and my fellow students (who jumped right in with offers of help), I knew I was in over my head after the first semester. Not to worry.
I met with my advisor and with academic affairs and decided to switch to the business program. I can’t say enough about the support I was given and the way my schedule was fine-tuned so I could fit in with the class that had already started. I was told that many people had been in my position and that the school was adept at making the necessary adjustments.
Another thing I discovered early in school, the entire staff would go out of their way to help. When I needed help finding an office or a department, whoever I asked would not just give me directions, but take the time to walk me down the hall and show me exactly where to go. Everyone smiled.
So, my choice to go back to school has been a great one! The students, instructors, staff and administration have been helpful to a fault. My distinct needs as a returning student with a family are met with flexibility and genuine concern. South Hills School of Business & Technology is the perfect way to start my new career and a new life. This place is great!