Military to Executive: Tami Clark Proves it's Never Too Late to Get Your Degree 2018
For Tami Clark, Saint Francis was the last stepping stone on a long journey. After serving overseas with the Army in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom, she returned home in 2004 and started a family. While Tami’s education remained on the back-burner for the next several years, her desire to earn her degree was never far from her mind.
In 2015, she enrolled in the Adult Degree and Continuing Studies Program at SFU, where she excelled in the Organizational Leadership program while holding down a full-time job. She recalls “loving every class, every professor, and every moment at Saint Francis.” Tami graduated in 2017, and soon achieved her dream job as Volunteer Executive Director of the Central Pennsylvania Scholarship Fund.
Here, Tami details what it's like to be an adult learner at Saint Francis, and how the experience changed her life.
What was it like attending SFU as an adult with a family?
Attending SFU as an adult was intimidating, at first. I hadn't been on a college campus in a long time, and I wasn’t sure what to expect. But from the moment I got there, I knew I would love it. My children were always treated well when I brought them to campus, and everyone from the bookstore staff to the professors never seemed uncomfortable by my children and my "mom" title.
Did you take online classes? If so, what was your experience with them?
Online classes were more challenging than I expected, but completely worth it. All of my professors were incredible and I liked the freedom it afforded me with my children and to maintain a full-time job.
What did it personally mean for you to accomplish your degree as an adult?
I began my college journey in 2001 and had many exciting life events that derailed my college path for a bit. While I wouldn’t change any of those events, I was determined to finish college, no matter how long it took. When I walked across the stage to receive my diploma, with my children and family watching, I had such an incredible sense of pride. I proved to my children that no matter what, you can achieve your goals. It may take time, but it is worth every minute.
Do you feel your degree has opened doors for you professionally?
My bachelor’s degree gave me the opportunity to become the executive director of the central Pennsylvania scholarship fund. I don’t feel like I would have been considered for this position without my degree. I am lucky to be able to have a job that I am extremely passionate about and SFU helped me make that possible.
Why would you recommend SFU to adults who are thinking about going back to school?
There are so many reasons why I would recommend SFU; from the professors, to the beautiful campus, to the affordability and the college credit transfer program. SFU is so accommodating to adult students as well as their families. I wouldn’t recommend any other college to adults wanting to go back to school.