A father enrolls in college to make a career change from retail to computer networking

Technician's hands installing user memory on a computer main-board

“My eleven years working as a manager for a large chain retail store prompted me to go to college. I was making under $50,000 a year and working 70 hours a week. Taking four years off from working to get my college degree would allow me to make a career change and earn in the $85,000 to $90,000 range,” Bob Hart explained.

After much discussion, Bob and his wife decided the time was right for him to make a career change. He quit his job and became an adult learner, enrolling in Temple College (TC) in Texas. “When my wife and I got married, she was going to school and I paid her way,” he said. “Now that she is at a good point in her career, she is working and paying my way through school. It’s a role reversal. I’m a stay-at-home dad, and I go to college.”

Prior to taking classes at TC, Bob had to take the Texas Success Initiative Assessment (TSIA), a placement test that helps determine a student’s readiness for college-level course work. “The only part where I wasn’t at college level was in math. I missed it by two points, so I had to take the Foundations of Mathematical Reasoning course.”

Foundations of Mathematical Reasoning is a blended learning developmental math course that is part of the New Mathways Project, a series of five courses developed by the Charles A. Dana Center at the University of Texas in partnership with Pearson. The course includes an interactive learning program through MyMathLab® that helps personalize the experience for students.

“I was nervous about the course being partially online and partially in class because I learn a lot better in class, directly from a professor,” Bob confided. But he soon discovered his fears were unfounded.

“It was better than I expected,” he commented. “The program doesn’t lock you in. You can go back and do the problems as many times as you need to. And that helped me when it was something I was struggling with. I was also able to access older topics that we were revisiting.”

Foundations of Mathematical Reasoning was structured really well. The program allowed me to do problems over and over again until I got them right.

 

Bob did well in the course, earning an A, and progressed to Statistical Reasoning, a course for college credit that is also part of the New Mathways Project. Although he found the second course to be much more challenging, he was able to earn an A with help from his professor who did a wonderful job explaining the concepts that he did not understand.

Picture of Bob HartIn spite of his initial reservations, Bob ended up enjoying both math courses. He would advise other students taking the courses to “make sure they have plenty of time to do the online portion because it’s time-consuming. And don’t get behind in it because it is very difficult to catch up.”

On track to finish his general education requirements in the next six months, Bob plans to transfer to Texas A&M University–Central Texas to earn his bachelor’s degree. He plans to study computer networking and is looking forward to making a career change. “I would eventually like to work in internal technical support for an area business or large corporation,” he explained. “I am a hands-on kind of person—I make stereos in my spare time. Networking is more about computer hardware than software, and it fits into my areas of interest.”