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Posted by Jessica Russo on May 10, 2013
J: How would you say that your major in school, Human Development, helps you right now?
S: I think it does, because in most of your classes, you are able to sit down and work on a project with other people. At the same time come up with, researching it and finding out either data or something that would go with what you’re looking for, know how to do it, where to find that stuff. Because I’m non-traditional, I wasn’t 20, so technology was different for me than the younger kids in my class. So I was learning the different technologies and I think it just really was the human development side of things that helped you to adapt and to get along with people and to realize that everybody’s different. We don’t think that everybody’s the same and, “if you’re not like me then you’re not right—” that’s not necessarily true. Beause if you’re all like me, how boring would it be, right?
S: If everybody was like you, there’d be no fun in your life because you’d be talking to yourself all the time.
S: You know what I mean?
J: Yeah, no mystique, nothing new to learn about.
S: Right, and to keep an open mind, you know, I think it’s important. We all have our political opinions and our convictions in life and it’s great to have those because I think that’s what makes us who we are, but I know that in lots and lots and lots of our classes, we were able to pick up on different areas that people believed in. And being a non-traditional, I was older so I was able to listen to what the younger generation was saying and take that with me and not necessarily change my opinion on something, but at least make me understand that this generation looks at it this way while my generation kind of looked at it like this and how can we make that work and make that a good thing.
J: Yeah, that’s a really good skill for the workplace.
S: Oh absolutely. Oh yeah, because every person you work with has a different personality, that’s for sure. And so it’s funny because sometimes you can explain something to one person totally different than you need to explain it to the other. And as time goes on and you’re the director of a department, you see all those different layers, so to speak. You’ve got to know how to deal with each one of those layers to make it so everybody understands. And that is challenging. It really is sometimes.
J: Ok, and one more question. What would you say to students today who are going through the same struggles, balancing education, work, and family?
S: Be very organized. You know, organization is key. Communication is key. Outlook Calendar is key. Back then I didn’t have an Outlook Calendar, but I had my hard copy calendar, whatever. And I find that if I write it all down and I say “from 10-11 I’ve got to do this and then 11-to then and then baths at 7 and then everybody be ready for bed at 7:30 and everybody’s in bed by 8 and then I start studying from 8-12.” Or whatever it took. And you need to turn the TV off, and you need to turn your phone off, because distractions when you’re so committed to that 24 hour in a day time slot can really throw you off, throw your whole day off. It even happens here. I walk in the morning and say, “ok, I’m going to do x, y, z, and I start on x, and the phone rings or there’s a situation, and I never get to y until three days later. And so, sometimes you almost have to turn off your life to be focused on what you need to do to get the work done that you need to get done for the class the next day, or the reading that you need to do or things like that.
J: That’s so true. That’s really good advice for any student actually.
S: I know, because we don’t, and my phone’s on all the time, but I tend to put it on vibrate when I’m here, because if it’s something really important I’ll get to it eventually, but I don’t want to hear it ringing, interrupting me all the time. I think it’s true—too many distractions in our life. When I was a student, we really didn’t have cell phones, believe it or not. So you didn’t bring them to class. You didn’t bring them with you. They kind of just stayed in your car, because you couldn’t take them out of your car. They were fixed to the vehicle. Now, you can take them where you go, and record on them, and take pictures on them, and do all that fun stuff. I can’t be without mine either, so I’m not discrediting the cell phone, but I’m just saying it can definitely be a distraction.
J: Ok. Thank you for your time. This is some great stuff.
S: Yeah. I hope that I’m helping.
Sue Crane graduated from Binghamton in 1999 with a BS in Human Development. She is an integral part of Binghamton University, and became so through her dedication to her education, despite having other responsibilities to care for. Through her experiences and advice, other non-traditional students will find someone to look up to and motivation to see their educational dreams to fruition.