Saturday, August 11, 2012

Back to School Student Profile: Scott Friend

Scott Friend, center, with his family.
Returning to college after a 5 year absence was an intimidating prospect for Rio Salado College student Scott Friend. Like many adults, Friend was already balancing work and family. He had his daily routine and had gotten comfortable with his lifestyle.

"I had been thinking about it for a few years, but I am pretty set in my ways," Friend said. "I was nervous that I wouldn't be able to transition back to being a student again."

With a little inspiration from his fiancé, who returned to the classroom in 2010, Friend realized that the opportunities that come with an education are well worth the time and effort.

"Kathleen set the example and really encouraged me," Friend said. "I'm not unhappy with my current job, but the idea of pursuing my dream is what led me to finally enroll."

Committing to the decision to take the next step in his education may have been a challenge for Friend, but the process of signing up for classes was very easy.

"Everything has been smooth sailing and easier than expected," Friend said. " From the initial registration to the courses themselves, the online format at Rio Salado College has been very accessible and easy to use."

Friend had never taken an online class before and was concerned about how it would work out. He was skeptical, but his retail work schedule and busy personal life didn't leave room for in-person options.

"My fiancĂ©'s two children participate in a variety of activities like scouts, orchestra and choir which keeps us running. I'm also busy with the wedding plans and my job, so I really can't afford to waste time," Friend said. "I worried about the website going down or timing out in the middle of an assignment, but I haven't had a single issue.”

Although this is his first online class, the technology has not been a problem.

“RioLearn is great. I found the course content very well laid-out and manageable. The lessons give clear direction and the instructors quickly respond by email to the few questions I've had," Friend said. "I like that I can check assignment dates and grades on my phone, and now it's even easier to navigate with the new update."
According to Friend it didn't take long to find his footing and adjust to being a student again.

"At first the courses were a little hard, but with each assignment I’m getting the swing of things again," Friend said. "I’ve found that if I give myself adequate time for the assignments, they really aren’t very difficult."

"It may sound silly, but my mind feels sharper and I feel less like I’m stuck in a rut," Friend said. "With each graded assignment I get back, I have a feeling of accomplishment. I know that with time and determination, I will finish my degree and be better prepared with the knowledge and confidence I need to reach my career goals."

Published in the Tempe Republic Aug 18, 2012