Finding time to advance your education while taking care of a family can be challenging, but it is important to never lose sight of your goals. Mitch Brady and Christian Guzman are great examples of fathers, husbands, professionals and students who are thriving in their multiple roles. They shared with us their student journey and their tips for dads returning to school.
Achieving personal and professional goals at ASU.
Mitch Brady’s line of work periodically involves travel to Baghdad, which takes him away from his children, 9-year-old Ellianna and 3-year-old Mason. To help pave the way for a more predictable work schedule and more time with his family, he chose to pursue a Bachelor of Science in electrical engineering (BSEE).
“My goals are to eventually step away from overseas work and be home more often with the family,” Brady said. “The reason I chose ASU Online is the fact that the ASU BSEE is ABET accredited, and to me, that is a major program incentive when looking at online degrees within the engineering fields.”
Christian Guzman is dad to 18-year-old Nathan, 9-year-old Jesse and 6-year-old Liliana. He started earning his degree in 2001, but life and serving in the Navy took him away. After a 20-year hiatus, he is ready to finish what he started and earn his Bachelor of Arts in organizational leadership with a concentration in project management.
When dads return to school, they know there will be some missed moments along the way. It’s difficult to have to say ‘no’ to spending time with your children, but there is also a teachable moment to show children how important education is and the impact it can make on a personal and professional level. “I think they see that education and learning are very important throughout every stage of our life, no matter how old we are. Our family believes lifelong learning is very important, so we make a point to ensure we instill those values in our kids,” Guzman said.
There’s also an opportunity to demonstrate the commitment it takes to achieve a goal. Brady adds that he hopes his daughter learns that you can achieve anything through hard work and dedication.
“My wife and I constantly tell our daughter she can be whatever she would like when she grows up, so long as she works hard and keeps the overall goal in sight,” Brady said.
Tips for dads returning to school
Create a roadmap to success.
When you feel ready to return to school, it helps to create a personal roadmap for success. Think about your goals and plans for the next year, the next five years and the next 10 years. Where do you see yourself personally and professionally? Envision the path you want to be on to help set your expectations.
While you’re busy diligently working on achieving your goals, think about the people around you who you may be inspiring to do the same.
“Remember that our children are always watching,” Guzman said. “We are one of the most influential parts of their lives and they get their initial habits from us, so let's be the best example for them by placing knowledge, education and lifelong learning at the top. When I was about 8 years old my father told me something that stuck with me till this day, and I am passing it on to my children. He said, ‘The more you know, the more you’re worth, and nobody can devalue your knowledge.’”
Manage your time.
Time management is also key for dads returning to school. Being able to juggle coursework with your professional and personal life requires organization and prioritization.
“Take the time to evaluate what you can handle while balancing everything else going on in your life. Don't let things pile up and overextend yourself,” Brady said.
Ask for help when you need it.
It’s also important to not shy away from asking for help. Making the transition to student life as a parent can be challenging. If you’re able to ask family or friends for support, don’t hesitate. As an ASU Online student, you have access to online student services to include career advice, tutoring, success coaches, stress management, technical resources and more. Never forget you have people in your corner rooting for your success.
The ASU Online experience empowers students
Empowering students to succeed is at the core of what we do. Our accessible and flexible course offerings make personal and professional goals more achievable, even for those with busy schedules.
“ASU Online helps me achieve my goals by allowing me to do a full schedule of courses whether I am home or overseas. The online learning environment is very beneficial to odd schedules at times and has made keeping on track with my degree very much attainable,” Brady said.
When students return to pursue their degree, they not only have flexible course schedules, courses are taught by experienced faculty in their areas of expertise.
“The biggest reason I was attracted to ASU is the credibility that the school has. ASU prides itself and places innovation at the forefront of its curriculum, allowing us students to return and/or continue and complete our goals of higher education,” Guzman said.
For our military students and dads, ASU Online provides a platform that makes learning on the go a possibility, even for those required to travel at a moment’s notice. For Guzman, the biggest factor for choosing ASU Online was the dedication and support ASU gives military families and veterans.
“The main obstacle while on active duty is flexibility from the schools,” he said. “It is impossible for military personnel to physically make it to classes that are only offered during the day, as well as the added pressure of having to relocate every couple of years and having to re-enroll in another school and be forced to now meet their requirements, sometimes having to backtrack because courses don’t transfer. But I found that ASU saw these issues and has made it possible for all of us to enroll in one school and complete our degree, even while on the other side of the world.”
ASU Online provided these dads and many others the opportunity to go back to school while managing a job and raising a family, and we celebrate fathers and father figures who are an example to their kids — highlighting the importance of education, pursuing your passion and that you can advance your education at any age.
Seeing victory ahead
You can learn more about our flexible online programs and see what ASU has to offer by joining the #ASUOnline conversation on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.