Current occupation: English adjunct faculty
What made you decide to pursue your degree as an adult?
After completing my Bachelor’s degree in International Studies, I moved to South Korea to teach English. While there, I set a goal to teach English at the community college level. Pursuing a Master’s degree was the next step in this journey. However, after earning Master’s degrees in English Literature and Composition, Teaching English and Higher Education Administration, and teaching for several community colleges, it was time for the next step: to pursue a Ph.D. Though a Ph.D. is a terminal degree, I will continue to grow and learn even after finishing it.
Why did you choose to study at Tiffin University?
When looking around for a Master’s degree, I wanted a degree that was economical as a self-paying adult and had the flexibility that I could complete it on my own time. Completing a second degree at Tiffin made sense after having the positive experience the first time. I did the same when looking for a Ph.D. program. I researched several programs, really trying to find a program outside of Tiffin for the new experience; however, Tiffin was the only one that not only fit into my very busy life but also it was the only one that I felt I would get the whole experience of being a Ph.D. student at a distance.
What has been your experience with the program so far?
My experience in the program has been challenging and positive. The higher up in education, the more self-directed it is. The Ph.D. program is a lot of independent work, more so than any of the Master’s programs. The seven weeks per course also goes very quickly; however, Moodle is an easy-to-use platform, and the course can be as interactive as the learner wants to make it.
How has your experience been with your cohort and faculty?
I have learned a lot from different students that I have met in my courses. Tiffin’s commitment to diversity means that everyone is coming from a different place with unique experiences to share. The faculty and advisors have been responsive to questions and concerns.
How are you juggling work, life, and going back to school? Any tips?
I have had a lot of practice juggling work, family, and school. These days, I am relatively good at it; however, that doesn’t mean that I haven’t dropped a ball or two… or even three! Making a mistake in time management is easy to do when being pulled in many directions and with people relying on a person. The unexpected always tends to come up no matter how much one plans for it. The best tips that I can give are to have a plan and stick to it, make sure to reserve leisure time to unplug, and give yourself grace when mistakes happen. Finally, get back at it sooner rather than later when things have gone off plan.
What keeps you motivated to stay in the program?
Intrinsic motivation keeps me going. I think that is a benefit of studying as an adult. I have the desire to learn more and understand how the connections, projects, knowledge, and a diploma can open up doors that weren’t there before.
What advice would you give to a prospective student who is thinking about going back to school?
Going back to school as an adult has been more rewarding for me because I was older and have grown more into myself than at 18. If you didn’t have the experience when you were young or weren’t mature enough to focus on finishing, it is not too late.
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?
I think the biggest risk I took was when I moved overseas. It allowed me to see multiple viewpoints, meet so many interesting people, and completely changed my career trajectory. Outside of comfort zones is where growth happens, and sometimes we need the push to get out there to get the confidence that it’s okay to try something new. Having the new perspective gave me the confidence to get out of my comfort zone and take risks more often.