Dan Pino has always told his children to finish what they started. But when they were old enough to start talking about college, they asked their father why he never completed his education. Pino says he felt like a hypocrite, and sought to set a good example for his kids. Because he had a busy career with an unpredictable schedule, he began evaluating online programs. After researching his options, he decided Florida Tech would be best, and enrolled in October 2013. This spring, he will graduate with a BA in Business Administration Management. He says he’s proud of what he has accomplished, especially because he has shown his children that he practices what he preaches.

How did you choose your field of study?

I have always wanted to be my own boss and own my own business. The only problem was that I had no idea how or where to start. So, when I saw that FIT offered a Business Management degree, I knew right away that’s what I needed to study if I wanted to run my own business someday.

What advice do you have for people trying to handle school, work and family at the same time?

It’s very important to get into a good study habit and work on your assignments in the order that they are due. Get into a routine early, and don’t break that routine. Before long, it becomes second nature. This makes life much easier.

If things get tough, don't panic, just relax, as everything will be OK. If you need help or are struggling with something, ask your professors for help. In my experience, they have been great. They have always been there for me and helped in any way they can.

Who has been your support system?

My family has been my support system from the start. They stood behind me and pitched in to complete work that I usually did around the house so I had time to study. They have always been supportive no matter what came up.

Also, my student services representative, John Salmon, was part of my support system. He was always there for me. If I needed anything, he was on it. He helped me pick classes that would be more manageable for what I had going on at home and work. That way I didn’t get overwhelmed, and I could keep my full-time status and enthusiasm for continuing my educational journey. He is one of the reasons that I have been so successful in my academic career.

What has your interaction with professors been like?

I have had great experiences with my professors. Any time I had a question, they would answer it quickly. They tried to make sure I understood the material. For example, my statistics professor walked me through how to solve one of the homework problems that I couldn’t figure out. He even suggested websites that I could go to practice solving similar problems, and told me, “Don’t hesitate to contact me if you get stuck. I’m here to help you learn.”

What have been the advantages of online education for you?

The biggest advantage of a 100% online education is flexibility. Florida Tech gives you a reasonable date and time to complete and turn in your homework. You can post to the discussion board when you want, as long as it’s done by the deadline. You don’t have to be in a classroom at 4 p.m. every Monday. This is a great feature, because my work schedule is always changing, and it’s hard for me to commit to being somewhere at an exact time. If Florida Tech didn’t offer a flexible online education, I wouldn’t have been able to attend college.

When you were considering quitting, what kept you going?

I strongly considered quitting during my first few weeks of college. There were two main reasons I decided to stick with it. The first was my kids. I couldn’t let them down again, and I knew that I had to set an example for them. I needed to practice what I preached, which was to always finish what you start.

The second reason I didn’t quit was my student services representative. He helped to calm me down, told me about his experiences and gave me some suggestions that helped me get into a good study habit and routine. He also helped me to schedule classes that fit what was happening in my home and work life. He’s a great advisor, as well as a good friend.

How do you describe the feeling of accomplishment you’ve gotten from Florida Tech?

The feeling of accomplishment I have from earning my degree from Florida Tech is unreal. I haven’t stopped smiling. My boss told me that I could light up a dark room by walking into to it because I was glowing with pride. It really is an unbelievable feeling!

When you get your degree, what do you expect to do?

I am going to continue working for my company for a while. I’m going to conduct some market research and find out what type of business would be successful in my area. Then I’m going to use all the information I learned from Florida Tech to start my own business.

What is one fun fact about you?

I was the first 5’11” kid to dunk a basketball in my school at age 17.

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