Hello, my name is Jeremy, I live just outside LA County. I’m a Calbright student and am excited to be Calbright’s first student body president.

I’ve worked in restaurants for almost thirty years, most recently as a restaurant manager, working 50 hour weeks, working weekends and holidays. It was never supposed to be my professional career. I got my associates degree in radio/television. But I only worked in it for about six months before I realized that industry wasn’t right for me. I’ve always loved interacting with people so I went back to restaurants, and pretty much accepted that I would be working at restaurants for the rest of my professional life.

The pandemic changed everything, and turned me into a stay-at-home dad with two kids while my wife worked. That turned out to be a chance to hit a reset button for my life. I don’t want to go back to restaurants, I worked so much and was always beat. We also still need me to be a stay-at-home dad. Our youngest is just six months old, the other is three, and day care is so expensive, so I’m going to be doing this for a while.

If I’m going to train for a new career, I need to be able to do it around the schedule of our young kids. I spent some time thinking about how I could enter the workforce again, and I came up with a plan to start learning about computers, something I’ve always been interested in but never thought about as a career. 

I started with the idea that I wanted to be a programmer, so I took some online courses to learn to code. 

Then one day while I was watching my daughter at the park, I struck up a conversation with a park mom who works in education. She mentioned Calbright and told me what they had to offer.

I went home and enrolled in Calbright that night. Enrolling was so easy! I was surprised. The onboarding was really thorough. They really talked me through what was going to happen.

I’d found a flexibly-paced, no-cost online college that takes all the noise out of traditional education and provides a curriculum that is fine-tuned to the specific areas of study that are necessary to learn and gain the knowledge to be hired. This was right up my alley in terms of being self-paced and letting me log on at 10 at night and do my studies after the kids go to bed. I jumped in with both feet and started learning and taking advantage of all the things that Calbright has to offer. I also put coding on the back burner when I enrolled in Calbright’s IT program. I think IT support is a more secure career, and you can go a lot of places with the right IT credential.

My interactions with the faculty and staff have been amazing. I haven’t had any interaction with anyone here where I felt like they were rushing me out the door or checking a box about talking to a student. Everything has felt very intimate and personal.

I know a lot of people are planning to get through their programs fast, they like how quickly they can do everything, but I’m taking it slow. I tell anybody who will listen that I’m here to learn the material, not just to pass the test. I really want to understand computers. Calbright doesn’t just let me take all the time I need, they let me take all the time I want.

I think in this decade we’re going to see more disruption than we’ve ever seen before. Entire industries, whether they realize it or not, are going to be completely restructured and the jobs are going to disappear. I want to be prepared for that.