Devin Hill started at MTSU in 2013 as a recording industry management major soon after graduating from high school. He said he was pretty good at school, but as his music career grew, he became less interested in his classes.
When his grades started slipping, he lost his HOPE Scholarship and decided to drop out.
“I didn’t appreciate the things about education and college the way I do now,” said the 30-year-old Smyrna, Tennessee resident. “I was a 20-year-old kid who didn’t quite have everything figured out.”
After he stopped attending MTSU, Hill took a job working with heavy machinery. He said he tried several different jobs, from the warehouse to logistics to sales, but knew he was in the wrong place.
“I had a big interest in software development, and several friends had transitioned to that career. They all had degrees, though, and I knew it was a competitive industry,” Hill said. “So after 10 years of no college, I started the process of re-enrolling.”
Hill chose the Integrated Studies Program major so he could retain many of the 75 credits he had accumulated from his first go-round at MTSU.
Many adults choose this major at MTSU because of its flexibility not only with prior credits but also because it can be completed online.
“It turned out it was the quickest way for me to get started and help me graduate quickly,” he said.
Taking online classes made it possible for Hill to balance his job with Rutherford County government as a software specialist.
“The format MTSU uses is accessible and efficient,” Hill said. “All of my classes and literature being in one spot made it easy for me to stay organized.”
Work-life balance is one of the reasons Hill chose the career path he is walking. He didn’t have that balance working the heavy machinery jobs, but it’s something that has become more important to him as he’s gotten older.
“You don’t mind working long hours as much in your 20s, but some of the people I was working with were in their 60s pulling more than 50 hours a week,” Hill said. “I knew I didn’t want that.”
Hill is not taking any time off from his studies once he graduates this summer. He’s starting the organizational leadership master’s program in August.
Because of his experience with the Rutherford County government, his independent projects and his Bachelor of Integrated Studies degree, he’s also interviewing with a federal government tech consulting firm for a job as a data engineer.
“Earning this degree is very fulfilling,” Hill said. “Some of my friends have been surprised I actually came back, you know? I am genuinely proud of myself that I finished this degree and that I’m starting another one right after.”
Those interested in returning to college can visit MTSU.edu/FinishNow for more information.
— Hunter Patterson (Hunter.Patterson@mtsu.edu)