Kara Curtland, Bachelor of Business Administration
Current occupation: Human Resources
What made you decide to pursue your degree as an adult?
I was in a place in my life where I was not happy with my career. I have kids, and I was looking to do something to better myself and my family long term. I planned to originally go for an associates degree to see what going back to school as an adult was like. School was never something I loved, but learning as an adult gave me more ownership over my future and gave me a boost of confidence both in my educational career and my personal life.
Why did you choose to study at Tiffin University?
I was contacted by my Tiffin advisor, Kelly, and she was so encouraging. The fact that I could finish school sooner than originally planned, with a better degree was very appealing to me.
How was your experience in the program?
Tiffin changed my overall expectations of higher education. I attended a community college before I transferred to Tiffin and I could not have made a better choice. Tiffin was structured and that was something I needed to succeed in class. I also do not live in Tiffin, so the ability to learn close to home with the cohort program and have online classes worked wonderful with my schedule. The instructors within the program were wonderful, and very understanding that we all had “adult” lives outside of class. The accelerated model was very intimidating to me at first, but now I know I prefer that over a traditional length class. The Moodle platform was easy to use, and I loved the fact that almost all my classes were set up the same with with due dates and expectations, so there were no surprises.
How was your experience with faculty and staff?
My advisor Kelly was phenomenal. I couldn’t have asked for a better advisor and really just someone that I could reach out to with any questions I had. Even if they felt silly to me, Kelly never made me feel bad for reaching out. She was unbelievably supportive, even in times where I felt like giving up, she helped push me and I am grateful to her for her help. My favorite instructor by far was Jonathan Ray. He was the instructor for a number of my classes and he was the most engaged and understanding instructor I came across. He truly helped me learn real life lessons and made a big impact on my overall experience with the program. Truly, I am overwhelmed by the amount of supportive instructors that I worked with through my career at Tiffin and my internship coordinator was the best.
How did you juggle work, life and going back to school? Any tips?
College is a lot for any person in my opinion, no matter your life circumstances. I am very lucky to have a huge support system at home and was encouraged by my entire family to succeed. Working full time, having children and a home to care for on top of my own needs was a lot, but I made it through. Using resources, making friends who support you through the process in class, and leaning on your teachers for help when you need it are definitely some top tools for me. You would be surprised on how understanding or helpful university professors are, they have been in our shoes once before and always want us to succeed. Working through the cohort I made friends that were in all of my classes with me almost to the end, and that was helpful to have someone else to reach out to for help or just to talk about class topics.
What kept you motivated to stay in the program?
I finished my program this year, and I think the biggest motivator for me was the feeling of accomplishment. I worked so hard each term to get through, even when it felt tough. I couldn’t give up on myself, after all I was going back to school for me and it was a promise I made to myself that I would finish. I did have a lot of cheerleaders to get me through as well.
What advice would you give to a prospective student who is thinking about going back to school?
I say there is no better time than the present. I thought about it for years before I pulled the lever. I wish I would have done it sooner looking back. Maybe before I had kids! But even when it feels scary and you might not be ready, you can surprise yourself with determination and dedication.
TU’s motto is: Without risk there is no gain. Can you tell us about a time when you took a risk and what you gained from it?
Quitting my career to go back to school was a huge risk for me and my family financially. Although we had some rough moments, and sometimes it didn’t feel like it would be worth it, It has paid off in the end. I am already more successful professionally and financially, but gaining invaluable knowledge and experience are the most important parts of my personal growth.