Five More Questions With Vinnie ’23
Why did you choose to attend Syracuse University?
I’ve always loved learning, but my journey as a student isn’t your traditional student’s journey. After high school, I enrolled in the “school of life” and began working. When I felt I had established a solid enough foundation with certain skills and competencies, I decided to join the Syracuse University community. I chose Syracuse because of its outstanding reputation for providing post-traditional students with the flexibility to attend college while working full time at the Barnes Center at The Arch.
How will your creative leadership major benefit you in your work and future career goals?
I’ve come to realize that there is a big demand for effective leaders in the workplace. I think that leadership goes well beyond management and supervision. It consists of intentional thinking, quickness in adapting to rapidly changing environments, and excellent interpersonal skills to maneuver within an ever-changing, diverse and multigenerational workforce. The creative leadership major has helped me enhance my communication and conflict resolution skills. It’s also given me tools to assess an organization’s culture and power dynamics. I’m looking forward to using these skills to build my professional networks and relationships. I’m also excited to lead groups of diverse people with different perspectives on life. I hope to one day be a major contributor to and supporter of the principles of diversity and inclusion as an officer of an organization.
Can you share what kinds of challenges you had to overcome to pursue your education?
Hmmm, where do I start? I will say this: The benefits outweigh the challenges. However, I would say that one of the biggest challenges has been balancing all of my responsibilities and finding that work-life-school balance. It can be done—you just have to work at finding that sweet spot. Also, even though there are people in my life who are supportive, they don’t totally “get” what I am experiencing. I’m one of the few people I know who is in college right now, and being in classes with traditional college students can feel isolating at times. But I make the most of it by relying on my outgoing personality, and I try to make connections and friendships with fellow students and instructors alike (shout-out to Laura and Dylan).
I can bring life to certain theories and take a lesson plan that may focus on customer centricity or conflict resolution and share my own real-life experience on the subjects. Many times, I have had an instructor ask me to share my firsthand knowledge with the class so they can understand that these concepts of study are real.
How do you think your perspective as a post-traditional student adds depth to class discussions?
As a student who has operated in a professional capacity, I think that the learning experiences I’ve had are unique. I’ve approached my academic journey with a high level of respect, appreciation and regard for each of the courses that I have taken at Syracuse University. I don’t know if I would have had that same approach if I had enrolled directly out of high school. I can bring a different perspective into the classroom by sharing a real-world point of view on the workforce and the makeup of an organization. I can bring life to certain theories and take a lesson plan that may focus on customer centricity or conflict resolution and share my own real-life experience on the subjects. Many times, I have had an instructor ask me to share my firsthand knowledge with the class so they can understand that these concepts of study are real. It’s great being able to share my professional competencies and prior learning experiences with others.
Do you have suggestions for other post-traditional students considering pursuing a degree?
I’m so glad you asked, because I do have suggestions for other post-traditional students considering pursuing a degree.
- In the words of Nike’s slogan, “Just Do It.” Take that leap and start your learning journey.
- It’s never too late to enroll. Your road to a degree starts right where you are. Take that first step and don’t be afraid, no matter your age or prior experiences with higher education.
- Begin with classes that you feel confident about. Start with what you know, and then build on that knowledge.
- Make sure your work schedule can accommodate your class schedule, so there’s time for study and rest.
- Talk with your family or support system about the upcoming changes and how they might be able to help you meet obligations.
- Know your campus resources. Get to know your advisor. See what the library has to offer. Like any other student, you pay a student fee, so use the services that are available to you.
- Just be you. Don’t worry about trying to fit in or feeling like the odd person out. Bring your whole self. All of your mistakes, successes and prior experiences make you valuable. Don’t sell yourself short. You have a lot to offer by just being you.
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