This Father’s Day, we proudly celebrate dads all over the world. At University of Maryland Global Campus, we see fathers excelling in their studies and striving, not only to achieve their own dreams, but also to build a foundation for the dreams of their children and family members. We’d like to highlight some of them here at UMGC and their experiences both as students and as parents.
Throughout their journeys, these UMGC dads agree that family support is a gift and one of the keys to their success.
“It’s tough and it’s a balance because, obviously, you want to spend time with your kids, but also you have other goals that you’re trying to take care of,” said John Menter, an active-duty servicemember and father who graduated with a bachelor’s degree in computer science. “It’s important to have a partner, my wife, there to help fill in the gap when I can’t be there so that I can reach my goal.”
Nicholas Doolin, a father who graduated with a bachelor’s degree in communication, added his perspective. “My family pushed me to get my degree, so I appreciate that,” Doolin said. “I couldn’t do it without them.”
Flexibility Is Key
For these dads, who face specific challenges as students, flexibility is another key to success, especially when it comes to scheduling their classes and coursework.
“This degree was not earned during 9-5,” said Menachem Davis, who earned his MBA. “This was one o’clock in the morning, Saturday nights, not going out with friends and family, probably neglecting some other relationships. This was going the extra mile to learn the material, whether it be through tutors or taking the time with some of your classmates.”
The need for a flexible schedule when earning their degree or certificate is one of the many reasons our students choose UMGC. They can access all their classes online from anywhere in the world and can create their own schedules. Almost 50 percent of UMGC students are parents, which is why dads and other working adults feel that they can achieve their higher education goals without sacrificing their attention to family.
Words of Advice—From Dads to Dads
While each may have a unique journey when it comes to earning a degree, these dads at UMGC shared advice and encouragement to any other dads who are considering college or graduation.
“Go for it. Life isn’t going to stop for anyone. Whatever excuse you have—work, school, kids, whatever the case may be—nothing else is going to change and something might come up so just go for it. Make it happen.” said Doolin.
Menter advised dads looking to go back to school to be mentally prepared.
“It is a bit of an undertaking, and if you go into it not recognizing that, it could be difficult,” said Menter. “Just make sure you understand what you’re doing but it’s rewarding once you’re done. It was definitely worth it, and all my options are now open.”
Throughout these dads’ time as students, their children and their families were not only some of their biggest supporters but also some of their biggest inspirations. That feeling surfaced again when they walked across the stage during the Grad Walk as their families cheered them on.
“I want to use what I learned and pass it on to my kids,” said Doolin. “That’s why it was so important for them to be here so that they can say ‘Dad can do it, and I can do it.’ It’s never too late, and I just wanted to set that example.”
Davis echoed that sentiment.
“Looking back at photos [from the ceremony], my daughters that are here with me today can look up to me and have something to shoot for, if not better,” said Davis.
As we celebrate this holiday, we are especially grateful for the dads who have earned or are currently earning their degrees so that they can take the next step toward their next success. We celebrate their journeys not only on Sunday, but every day. UMGC wishes all the dads out there a happy Father’s Day!