NACTEL Student Stories

When Paul decided to pursue his degree through the NACTEL program at Pace University, he was working for Verizon. He signed up because the company endorsed the program and, because there was no cap on it, he decided to go for the full Bachelor’s degree.

“I earned my degree so I could have access to better jobs, and also to fulfill a lifelong dream,” he said.

“It was a big deal for me,” he added. “Both my father and grandmother passed away in 2009, and during those times you start thinking about what you want to do in life. My degree was it.”

In addition to a family, Paul also worked full-time and went to school full-time. “It was hard, especially with kids at home. They’d want my attention, and I’d have to tell them I had a 20-page report due by Wednesday.”

But he also wanted to set a good example for his kids. “I didn’t go to college when I turned 18,” said Paul. “Something I wanted to tell the kids with me doing this kind of education was, ’go to college.’”

Paul and his wife decided she would stay home with the kids so they wouldn’t have to send the kids to daycare. “My wife was very supportive-I couldn’t have done this without her help with the kids. “

“The kids all play a bunch of sports and have lots of activities,” Paul added. “My wife had to shoulder the brunt of it, and she was great with it.”

Paul said that with his busy schedule-he said he was taking all the overtime he could—he couldn’t have earned his degree if it wasn’t online. “I do three hours of driving a day for my job, so I’d just stop by my local library and they’d order the books for me from the local college. I’d do a lot of my research online.”

“I definitely think having my degree helped me get my current job,” said Paul. “In one interview, they said they chose me out of the pack because I had my degree-a lot of other applicants didn’t. I was able to answer a lot of their questions in the interview I wouldn’t have been able to before my degree.”

Paul suggests to prospective NACTEL students that they set a schedule, find a rhythm, and then stick to it. “I hear a lot of people say they can’t learn online for one reason or another, but if you make the decision this is something you want and then start doing it, it becomes easier. Then once you finish, you have the credentials, and it’s easier to find a job. “

“Sometimes people might think online classes are easier to take, but they’re not,” said Paul. “We had engineering kits sent to us in the mail that had to be put together-real hands-on stuff.”

He also was very impressed with the instructors, he said.

Paul wants to go on to earn his Master’s degree so he can someday teach high school calculus. “I haven’t done calculus in forever,” he chuckled.

Paul believes that every employee at NACTEL member companies should take advantage of the employer discount and get their degree if they can. “For some people, there’s just no other way to earn their degree than doing it online, and the NACTEL online program is as good as it gets. It’s a great program.”

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