Steven Smith is the 2015 Valedictorian of the Bachelor of Business Administration program at Yorkville University. In this Question and Answer with Yorkville University Steven talks about what kept him motivated and the example he wanted to set for his children.
YU: Please tell us a bit about yourself? Where do you live, what do you do?
SS: I live in Ajax Ontario, a suburb of Toronto, with my wife and two boys. I work for a utility that is located in the area and have been employed within the Planning Department for just more than 11 years. I have an engineering background, and I have recently been involved in the leadership and management of people.
YU: How did you end up enrolling in the Bachelor of Business Administration program at Yorkville University?
SS: I had heard some of the regional advertising on the radio, and I was intrigued. I requested additional information from the website, and I promptly received a call from an admissions advisor, who answered all of my questions, and sold me. I enrolled to help further my education, help to compete in a competitive environment for new and exciting jobs, and to demonstrate to my boys that it’s never too late to get an education but also the importance of a University education.
YU: Yorkville University’s programs can be quite rigorous, so when times got tough, what kept you motivated?
SS: It’s a funny question, I just addressed this in my Valedictorian address. My motivation really was threefold, it was my boys and proving to them that anything can be accomplished with perseverance. Also I felt the experience of the program and the forum was one of self-discovery. Finally, it was to improve myself. I am a pretty stubborn person (I now realize), and once I start something I will give it 100 per cent and I will accomplish it. I have also made some friends in the program, and we had a personal competition going for grades, or the most number of discussion posts. I had a lot of reasons and support for my enrollment and completion of the Bachelor of Business Administration, while there were challenges and at times my motivation dwindled, those moments were far outweighed by the good times and the enjoyment that I received from participating in the classes.
YU: Apart from the course material, what is the biggest thing you will take away from your experience studying with Yorkville University?
SS: Self-discipline. With an online environment, it is very easy to lose motivation with the lack of face-to-face interactions. It is necessary to set goals, schedules and dedicate the required amount of time to satisfy and accomplish those objectives. Assignments were due every week, and as such remaining organized was imperative to success and to satisfy the deliverables.
YU: If you were to offer one piece of advice to someone who is just starting your program, what would it be?
SS: Use the tools that you are given. The administration and faculty are incredibly supportive and I really got the sense they were invested in my success. Professors are tremendously helpful, and understanding of individual needs and possible time constraints, but the material comes fast and furious, budget the time, dedicate a location to study, and participate with your peers.
YU: Now that you have graduated, what are your plans?
SS: I have been finished my course work for five months now and it has taken me a while to get back into filling my nights with family time rather than discussion forums and essay writing. I look back and wonder how I had the time to accomplish such a monumental task, but I feel a sense of accomplishment and pride that I or better yet we (family and friends) completed this program, and have the evidence hanging on the wall. I know it is anti-climactic, but I have no immediate plans, besides allowing my newly earned education flow into my daily work, and management, and utilize the skills that I have picked up, and relate them on a daily basis. My education has helped me to become better in so many ways, I will help to teach, motivate, and coach those around me in my daily interactions.