Changing Careers & Earning a Degree in Cybersecurity - A StraighterLine Success Story

Beth Dumbauld

Memphis Williams Jr. lives in Virginia, is a father, and most recently worked as a mail carrier prior to relocating from Atlanta to Richmond over a year ago. “Prior to working as a mail carrier for twelve years, I had worked in technology. When I moved to Virginia, I realized that the job market is a little different -- and that I would need additional credentials to make a career change,” said Memphis, “I wanted to get into something that was more rewarding, and not just paying the bills, so I decided it was time to go back to school and earn my degree.”

“It wasn’t a simple choice, but fortunately, my wife is my biggest supporter,” said Memphis, “When I talked with her about going back to school, she told me, ‘you supported me while I went to school, I’ll do the same for you.’ And so, with her support, I became a full-time student.”

Enrolling in 8 College Courses at StraighterLine

Memphis made the decision to to take courses at StraighterLine when he discovered that the courses, in addition to transferring to partner colleges, were also eligible to earn ACE Credit recommendations. He appreciated just how affordable and flexible, they were, and he knew that the college that he considered attending for his associate degree -- ECPI University -- accepted ACE Credit. After speaking to an admissions counselor at the school, and confirming that the school would accept StraighterLine courses using ACE credit, he enrolled and started taking general education courses required for his associate degree in cyber network security from ECPI.

“Once I found out that my school would accept StraighterLine courses, I enrolled and got started immediately, that very same day,” said Memphis. “StraighterLine is amazing. I just couldn’t believe that there was such a self-paced option out there that would offer so much information with so much structure. The courses are self-paced and have a lot of substance. I really knew the material when I was done -- I ended up taking 8 classes with StraighterLine for my degree.”

Changing Careers and Going Back to School as an Adult Learner

Memphis admits that going back to school “was overwhelming sometimes,” adding that when he first started taking classes, he “had some doubts” that he could do it. “My wife was my support, my teacher, and my cheerleader,” said Memphis, adding, “It’s important to have a support team on your side -- and encouraging your goals.”

The first course Memphis took with StraighterLine was Anatomy & Physiology. “I had never completed an online science class before, but I was determined to jump right in. And I dedicated myself full-time to being a student. From the moment I woke up, I would study. I had specific dates that I wanted to complete courses -- and I gave myself a cut off time so I would be able to accelerate the completion of my courses and degree.”

“I just did school work every day,” said Memphis, “This assignment, that assignment -- and before I knew it, I was half-way through a course. I kept going, working on my courses each day, and it was remarkable how all that hard work kept adding up, and before you knew it had finished my last StraighterLine class.”

Advice to Adults Thinking About Going Back to School Online

“I would encourage any adult learner to just take that first step. StraighterLine courses are self-paced, that’s a big thing. Go at your own pace,” says Memphis. “StraighterLine doesn’t rush you. Keep in mind, you really don’t have it completed by a certain time, it’s up to you.” Memphis also added, “When first starting out, don’t overwhelm yourself with too many courses at once. Time management is essential. Have set hours and make sure you balance your life out; you don’t want to become stressed with your school work. With online college courses, you can still have a balanced life.”

Memphis graduated with his associate degree in Cyber Network Security from ECPI this summer. Thanks to StraighterLine, he was able to fit earning a college degree into his busy life and complete an important life and career goal. Congratulations Memphis!

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