Learning to learn
Occupation: Software developer, First Data Corp.
Where did you receive your education?
High school diploma: Pampa High School; College: Bachelor of Science in computer science, West Texas A & M University; Master of Science in software engineering, Texas Tech University; working on Master of Business Administration at WT.
How has your education played a role in your life today?
Receiving an education has helped launch my career in information technology, given me a means to support my family, and allowed me to become productive member of society.
What was your greatest educational challenge and how did you overcome it?
The biggest challenge I have faced is "learning how to learn." In high school I was able to do well without much extra studying. During an internship, I was forced to operate beyond my natural talent and finally learned how to gain knowledge and apply it. To overcome the challenge required persistence and many hours of hard work.
What is the value of your education?
The benefits of the education I have received far outweigh any associated costs and have resulted in a respectable income which would have not been attainable without furthering my education. My education not only provides immediate financial assets but also positions me for future career advancements, higher earnings, and other opportunities.
What would you say to someone who's undecided about continuing their education?
Obtaining an education - high school, vocational, college, or less formal - is making an investment in yourself as you would make any other financial or business investment.
When did you make education a priority?
Probably not until midway through college. I realized I needed to make finishing my education a priority to focus on becoming gainfully employed. Once I had achieved this goal, I began expanding my knowledge through graduate studies to advance my career. Now I read to gain a broader insight, to find new hobbies and pursue business interests.
What made you realize the importance of education in your life?
Growing up, my mom always emphasized education and getting good grades, but I never really understood why until I was finishing college and the hard work and effort I had put in to become educated was finally starting to pay off. Since graduating, I have realized an education is very important for not only employment but also for communicating effectively, contributing to the advancement of our society, and normal activities such as buying a car or house, saving for retirement, etc.
Did you ever think of quitting? What made you keep going?
While there were times during my undergraduate studies I felt the easy way out would be to quit, I'm not sure I ever seriously entertained the idea of quitting. My parents had instilled in me that becoming educated was just a part of life.