4 Years in 4 Minutes: My University Journey

A journey from being average to achieving excellence in life - A three-part story, second edition is now available.

4 Years in 4 Minutes: My University Journey

This is where I share my personal learning experience at the university, and a walk through, per se, of my journey including my mistakes. I just finished my master’s degree from Nova Southeastern University. Let me tell you, It has been an amazing journey! Looking back makes me realize that even though I achieved my degree, I made so many silly mistakes. Knowing what I know now, I wish that I could turn back time and fix things. Maybe my story can help you.

I attended Florida International University after earning an Associate of Arts degree from Miami Dade College. There, I was accepted to the Honors program. I still recall that day as being the happiest day of my life. Being a part of this program was unquestionably an honor.

It was difficult to also hold down a full-time job to support my family and pay for my education. As I'm sure you are aware, the honors program mandates that students set aside time for extracurricular activities, such volunteering, and, most significantly, for daily/weekly book reading.

Although I liked the honors program, I soon came to realize that I would not be able to keep up with my reading and extracurricular activities since I couldn't quit my full-time job. Subsequently, I left the honors program and joined the hospitality management program.

Lesson # 1 - Never choose a degree based on your full-time job

At that time, I worked for Carnival Cruise Lines as a crew travel coordinator. I had the idea that I would always work in the hospitality industry. So, I changed my major. Since occupations may change or you may discover later that you have a different passion or interest, don't base your decisions on what you’re currently working at unless you love it wholeheartedly.

I earned the degree, nonetheless. It turned out to be a really poor plan, and I only realized this after receiving the degree. I will discuss in more detail in part 3 of this series.

So the wisdom here is this:

Your present circumstances don't accurately predict who you will be in the future.
Your current line of work, hobbies and/or interests might not be entirely representative of who you will become in the future.
Your choice must be founded on who you want to become in the future, not on who you are right now.

Humans are constantly striving to improve, therefore, always strive for the utmost potential even if you believe it to be impossible but which you are deeply passionate about. Go for it!

Lesson # 2 - Slow but consistency is the key to finishing school

I had a full-time 9-5 job, and attended classes at the university, literally from 5:30 to 10:30 at night. Although it seems simple, it wasn't, it was hard. Every day I felt burned out and drained.

I learned my lesson while attending junior college, that to get through anything, I could not give up, I had to be consistent. I took 2-3 classes each semester, it was slow and steady, but doable.

So, the key here is to be consistent in each and everything you do in life.

Lesson # 3 - No matter what happens, never give up!

I had days when I debated skipping courses, feeling that some classes did not require daily attendance. I never missed a session. Even though at work we had mandatory overtime, (which by the way comes with working in the hospitality industry). I still managed to get to class.

By this time I was married and I had a brand new baby boy in my life. Life was getting harder, and I found that my time was divided even more now. Whatever the situation, although I loved spending time with my family the most, I promised not to give up and finish getting my degree.

In 2013, I finally received my Florida International University bachelor's degree in hospitality management. I paid for college while working a full-time job, and I graduated debt-free!

Getting my bachelor’s was a huge milestone and one that I will always cherish and be proud of. My family is very happy as well.

When I saw the photo of my Commencement Ceremony, I realized I had triumphed.

After finishing my bachelor's degree, I stepped away from school for a while to figure out what to do next. To discover my actual passions and hobbies before embarking on the final stage of my journey, earning my master's degree.

This was actually the best thing I did and I will share why in the third and final part.

Check out my friend's insightful guide on navigating a career change to become a software developer in 2024! Discover valuable tips and advice to kickstart your journey into the world of coding.

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