My name is Jaime Campbell.
When I graduated from high school, I had the lofty dreams of many college freshmen and pursued my first major in a field that I was passionate about. As a 4.0 honors student, I knew how to work hard, but halfway through my first semester at a state university, I realized that something I loved doing (music) did not mean I was going to love studying it or working in that field. Over the course of the first three years, I changed my major five times. My advisor suggested I take some time off school, go to work and come back after I had something to focus on.
Twenty years later … I was very successful in my career and had achieved the highest level possible in my field. Working really hard, being a reliable employee and a good team player were valuable assets, but they were not enough. I was hiring people much younger than me into entry-level positions that were very well-educated. I was a wife and mother of two children, and I knew they would need a college education just to enter the workforce. How could I require that if I hadn’t done it? I needed to set that example.
I decided to go back to school, but with our schedule, it had to be 100% online. I searched for eight months, because I needed to ensure it was the right fit – as a full-time employee, wife and hockey mom, I needed a supportive, flexible, online education. When I found Tiffin University, I knew it was what I needed. Tiffin University has incredible online programs, completely online and no residency requirements. It was important to me that my college had a physical campus where I could go visit and walk at graduation. Tiffin University has everything – both undergraduate and graduate programs, students living on campus (with residence halls, sports, theatre, etc.) and off campus and virtual students. Also important, was that I get as much credit as possible for the college courses I had completed twenty years ago, and TU was very transfer friendly. But the biggest difference I found at Tiffin was the cultural commitment of the advisors to their adult online students. They treated me the same as if I had walked into their office on campus. They wanted to do everything possible to support me on my academic journey. I found that Tiffin University checked all of my boxes – it was everything I needed.
Over a two-year period, I completed nearly my entire bachelor’s degree by going to school year-round (every night, every weekend) and doing nearly every assignment (test, paper, homework, all of it) on a laptop – in the car, a hotel or an ice rink. I really connected with one of my Tiffin instructors, Dr. Wendy Ziems-Mueller. We had similar experiences and she really “got me” and where I was in life. Dr. Mueller has two young children too, and she spent many hours at her son’s baseball games in Ohio while I was at hockey games in California with mine. She repeatedly told me, “You have it in you – just take it one day at a time and keep moving forward, because TU is here to help you.”
By connecting with me on a personal level, Dr. Mueller was the main reason I felt I could continue and also earn my MBA from Tiffin. Oh, and I did go back and graduate at Tiffin; I met many of my instructors and a few of my online classmates. My parents, my sons and my husband all got to see me walk, and that was a huge day for all of us.
My biggest takeaway from Tiffin is that everyone there is invested in a student’s success; on-campus, off-campus or virtual student. No student at TU is going to fail unless they choose it, because the people who work at TU won’t give up unless you do. Now that I have completed my MBA and bachelor’s degree, I want to give back to TU and its students. I am so proud to be a Tiffin alumna. It truly changed my life. I know there are other current and prospective TU students who just need someone to encourage them the way I was … you can do it, you have it in you, just do it one day at a time.