Otha Farris, who is currently enrolled in Bethel University, shares a story similar to that of many other adult learners. “I had planned for years to go back to school, but life got in the way,” he says. After getting married and having a child, he opted to focus on work so that he could support his family. Last year he finally decided to pursue his dream.
Though he hasn’t declared a major, Otha is currently taking classes that will lead to a degree in Conflict Resolution. His ultimate goal, he says, is to open his own business, a Christian-based mediation service. He says one of the most fulfilling things about his return is the satisfaction of knowing that this time, he won’t leave school until he has obtained a degree. He’s also excited about his 4.0 GPA. And he isn’t the only one! His 14-year old daughter, Jada, has decided that when school begins for her next week, they’ll concentrate on maintaining their A averages together.
Speaking of Jada, Otha lists raising her as his biggest hobby. He credits her with reviving his interest in reading books. He focuses most on church, school, and raising his daughter. Juggling a family and a return to school has not, however, been without its challenges. “The biggest challenge that I have faced as an adult learner has been learning how to learn,” he explained. “When for years, learning has been job-related and on a ‘need to know’ basis, it has been challenging to focus and learn how to learn something that is not job-related.”
After years of putting his return to school on the back burner, Otha is confident in his ability this time around and when asked what will be going through his head as he accepts his diploma, he responds, “Glory to God!” With the support of his daughter and family and a circle of Facebook friends, he will finally earn his degree. “Finally, a dream deferred has come true!”