Story Submitted by Jon Nordos
Non Traditional Student and Technology Coordinator at St. Cloud State University
I attended the University of Minnesota for 1 year in 1990. To say that I was not ready for college is an understatement (I passed 2 classes in 1 year)
Since that time, I have accumulated 23 years of experience working in various industries. First I worked in Telecommunications for 10 years. Working in Customer/Tech support, Sales, and finally Operations Management. In the late 1990’s, early 2000’s the Telecommunications industry suffered dramatic losses and many large corporations (including mine) closed up shop. From there I spent 10 years running an event management and audio visual production company. I was responsible to Operations, Sales, and all IT support (telephony and Computer).
In the summer of 2013, I found myself at a cross roads. I was in an industry I didn’t really enjoy anymore, but I was making a good living. In looking back at my past careers, I realized the one I enjoyed the most was managing people in a technology setting. My wife and I made the decision that I would leave my industry and enroll in classes at St Cloud State (she is an employee here at SCSU).
I enrolled in classes in the fall of 2013 with an intended major of Information Systems. In early September, I began working as a student employee in I.T. I then applied for, and got a position as a full time IT Staff member on campus in late December. The end of March, I was offered a position to manage my team.
In the fall of 2013 I took 4 classes (10 credits) while working as a business consultant for an event production company. I was able to make the Dean’s list with a GPA of 3.79. With a little over 3 weeks left in spring semester, I am taking 3 classes (9 credits) I currently have A’s in all 3 classes.
While I have enjoyed most of the classes I have taken, I do not look forward to another 5 years of classes to complete my undergrad. I would love to have the option to “test out” of some of the classes based on my past experience. A perfect example was speech class during which I lead a team of 4 students in pitching a sales presentation to the class. With a solid 10 years of experience giving sales presentations, this was a piece of cake to me. My instructor said it was the best presentation she had ever seen. I don’t feel the class was a waste of my time, but as time progresses and my income increases, my view on that may change.
My ultimate goal is to be a Chief Information Officer leading an organization’s IT infrastructure. In order to attain that goal, I feel an undergraduate, and possibly graduate, degree may be necessary. So, I am going to continue pursuing my degree. But, as the opportunity cost of the degree increases, I am concerned that I may have cause to seriously consider switching gears and stop taking classes.
My closing point: I would LOVE to have the opportunity to get credit towards graduation for my career experiences. I am really looking forward to delving into the meat of the classes for my degree program (IT Classes, Project Management, Development, etc.) But in the meantime, I feel like the basic liberal arts requirements are taking time and money that could be better spent elsewhere.