Isaiah Brown was a workaholic looking for a change. The former property manager wanted a steady job that would enable him to see his children more on weekends. He knew that to follow that path, he needed a college degree.
“A degree is what a diploma was over a decade ago in regards to job placement and requirements. Now that I have that, many doors have opened up for me…”
Isaiah earned his Bachelor’s in Applied Psychology/Clinical Psychology in Fall of 2018. We spoke with him about his academic experience and what he plans on doing next.
Tell us about your background.
I was born in Oceanside, California before I moved to Texas. I enlisted in the Marines straight out of high school and found myself at a stage in life where I was spinning out of control, constantly partying and getting nowhere in life.
So, I decided to make some changes. I got married and became a father to five wonderful kids. At that time, I was doing property management and working long hours. I was a workaholic, and my wife voiced her feelings about wanting me to have a Monday through Friday job with weekends off so that I could be a part of the family. She made a comment about not caring if I was flipping burgers as long as I was home with the family. This pushed me to enroll at Florida Tech because I did not want to flip burgers my whole life, and I knew a degree would open up possibilities toward jobs where I could have an ideal schedule.
Now, I’m working for a school district in North Texas in their specialized behavioral unit, but eventually, I want to teach psychology at the high school level. My degree works for both.
How did you hear about Florida Tech?
I quit my job and looked into the education field as a teacher’s assistant, but I knew to move up and become a certified teacher, I needed a degree. So, I needed to figure out what I wanted to study. I remembered that back in high school, I had a coach named Coach Owens who taught psychology and that class had the biggest impact on me. It fascinated me how people behave and the mechanics behind their development. I started researching different online psychology classes I could take, and Florida Tech popped out to me. The structure of the classes and the fast-paced dynamics of the classroom encouraged me to enroll.
What were the most important factors in your decision to choose Florida Tech?
I was nervous about applying because it sounded like a really big school and I thought I wouldn’t get accepted. But, as soon as I applied, I had an advisor with me every step of the way. They directed me not only when I was applying, but throughout the entire course of the degree. They would break down classes for me when it came to enrollment, offered tutoring services for me and guided me toward my degree plan.
How will your Florida Tech degree make a difference in your career?
A degree is what a diploma was over a decade ago in regards to job placement and requirements. Now that I have that, many doors have opened up for me; however, in the course of attaining my degree, I’ve learned about several more opportunities that are possible for me using my degree. I will continue to further myself in the education field, but I also want to venture into other professions within the school that I learned about along my journey.
Do you have any future plans with your degree?
Now that I have graduated, my journey does not stop. I’ve enrolled in a few local classes at the community college to focus on certain certifications. When that is done, I plan on looking into the graduate programs offered and furthering my education. It was such a good experience that the thought of quickly going back to school doesn’t bother me and gives me something to look forward to.
What surprised you most about taking an online program?
The enrollment process was very easy and well-explained. Bisk made it very convenient and answered every question I had. If they didn’t know, they made it their mission to find out. I’ve heard of other places where students are just a number and forgotten about once enrollment is over, but someone from the program was always calling or emailing me just to make sure I had everything I needed. It made the process so much easier.
What was your most valuable takeaway from the program?
Start early on your assignments! Most papers and assignments are due Sunday night, and I was the worst about waiting until Saturday or Sunday morning to start assignments, and something I thought would take me two hours turned into eight hours. Toward the middle of my time at Florida Tech, I started doing bits and pieces during the week, and when Sunday came, I was done in no time at all.
What advice would you give other students who are considering enrolling in the program?
The work is achievable and steady. Do not get into your head with negative thoughts and feel as if things are getting too hard. I found out my graduation date, and as I completed classes, I marked down the time until I reached my goal and it helped me see the light at the end of the tunnel and to stay positive.
What was the most challenging part of your student journey?
The time that was invested. I missed out on so many different activities with my family due to the time I had to put into my studies, but all the sacrifices paid off in the end.
Who has been your support system?
My wife has supported me unconditionally to achieve this huge milestone in my life. When I felt as if I was on my last leg and could not push forward; when I felt defeated because my kids were off having fun and I was missing out; when I lost sight of my goals and dreams, and the fleeting thought of quitting was present, my wife always picked me up and pushed me to keep going. She has always been positive about me furthering my education. On long weeks filled with papers and assignments, I would lock myself away in my office, and she would come check on me, make sure I was fed, bring my kids to visit shortly when I had time for a small break, and handle the house so that I could concentrate and study. At times, it felt as if we were both working hard and trying our best, me trying to further my education and her supporting the family and me on her own at the same time. She has truly been a blessing.
Who or what inspires you to succeed?
My kids inspire me to succeed. I want to do the best father to them and constantly better myself. I’ve always taught them to lead by example and by them seeing how education is important, they will follow in my footsteps and strive for a higher education.
What is one fun fact about you?
I oftentimes would get distracted whenever I was doing homework by looking up dad jokes to use on my kids. This has cost me hours of wasted time, but the look of disappointment on my kids’ face always made it worth it.