“It seems to be a good fit, something I not only can do well and enjoy, but also something that will provide financial stability.”
For first-year Daytona State nursing student Mike Bowen, going to college well into mid-life was a numbers game.
Sure, after dropping out of high school, then later earning his GED® in 1982, there were lots of small jobs here and there, along with work as a rescue diver and running a small business, but none that added up to a career.
The Great Recession was the last straw, leaving Bowen in a tough job market with no real resume-quality experience, no college education and no applicable skills. “It was rough,” he said. “I really had nothing.”
He was 49 years old when he began mapping out a plan for his future, deciding that college was his best option. “I had limited opportunity going forward, limited income potential,” he said. “I had to ask myself, do I work whatever job I can get for the next 20 years and retire on $1,500 a month social security? The numbers just didn’t add up.”
Bowen decided to pursue a degree in nursing. “It seems to be a good fit, something I not only can do well and enjoy, but also something that will provide financial stability.”
He said his Daytona State experience has been exceptional. “There are so many programs here that are geared toward the workforce, toward putting people to work. The classes are small and intimate,” he said. “You’re not in a lecture hall with 300 other students. The faculty really care about students. Even when you email them at night with a question, they’re quick to respond.”
At his age, Bowen said being successful as a student takes determination and commitment. “There are times when you realize what you’re into and how hard it is,” he said. “You have tests, quizzes, papers, and you also have to support yourself in the meantime. You have to be determined to achieve your goals. I started with small goals. As I achieved them, they became more habitual and the lifestyle became a pattern. I also listen to my instructors and do what they tell me to do. That’s important.”
Bowen ultimately wants to become a certified registered nurse anesthetist. It’s all part of that life plan that hearkens back to those days of self-reflection, when he had nothing to show for the early years of his life and no direction for the future.
“If you put it on a scale and you start to think about the rest of your life, for me, my number is another 20 years of work,” he said. “If I go to school, I will come out better off, be able to save for retirement, a house, and maybe have a little fun in the meantime.”
Daytona State offers a one-year practical nursing program, the two-year ADN program and, beginning January 2014, the Bachelor of Science in Nursing.
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