There are many benefits that having a college degree offers. These benefits can include higher salaries, flexible hours, and more opportunity to move up within a company. College degrees allow for movement in a given career field, and they allow for more choices as to what type of career one can attain.
College students face many obstacles before, after, and during their college years. The road to graduation can be a long one, but for those that finish, it is an enormous accomplishment. Despite setbacks students face throughout college, the benefits of receiving a college education can ultimately change a student’s life forever. One E.M.U. student, in particular, has a unique story about his journey through higher education that will leave you inspired.
Patrick O’Connor, a soon to be Master of Science in Human Resource and Organizational Development (M.S.H.R.O.D.) graduate with a 3.9 GPA, says that his life and career path have been forever changed for the better because of his education.O’Connor didn’t take his education seriously until 10 years ago at the age of 25. After high school, he attended college briefly, but dropped out soon after and began working as a steelworker at the Dearborn where his father worked as well.
In 2006, O’Connor decided to go back to school and enrolled at Henry Ford Community College (H.F.C.C.). He told himself that if he did well after one semester he would continue with school. O’Connor ended up doing very well. He continued working full time at the steel plant but also enrolled in the articulation agreement between HFCC and EMU.
After successfully completing three years of college and marrying his wife, Cathy, O’Connor graduated from H.F.C.C. Magna Cum Laude with a 3.8 GPA. He then transferred to E.M.U in 2010 and transitioned from his job at the steel mill and began working as a part-time HR clerk at a life insurance company. In 2011 O’Connor graduated Cum Laude from E.M.U. with his bachelor’s degree.
O’Connor went on to pursue graduate school at EMU and has been promoted three times with the healthcare company he currently works for, including a call to move to the corporate office as an HR consultant. His education has allowed him to no longer work weekends, holidays, or nights which has left him time to be home to enjoy his family.
“My education has provided for me a fundamental change in my perspective on life,” O’Connor said. “And most importantly changed the trajectory of my family legacy.”
O’Connor plans to graduate April 2017 with his Master of Science in Human Resource and Organizational Development.
“The steps I took over 10 years ago began the deviation from the 70-year family tradition of labor intensive work. In 2010 I was the only family member remaining in the steel industry,” O’Connor said.
The educational choices O’Connor made early in his life have created lasting change in his career and for the future of his family. Because of his college education here at EMU, he has been given many opportunities and has ultimately been given a successful career path that he would not have been able to obtain otherwise.