William H. Avery, MS, Industrial Technology
What has been your Fresno State Experience?
My experience at Fresno State has turned out to be more rewarding than I could ever have hoped. The things I have learned have already opened doors for me and the prestige of my bachelor's degree from Fresno State makes me simile inside every time I think about it. I get excited when I think about what it will feel like to know I have worked and earned a master's degree, it hardly seems real. My wife has always been supportive when times got tough and she has given me the support I need at times when dropping out sounded like a good idea, but the greater the challenge the better the feeling of satisfaction when its complete.
My Fresno State experience began in the Fall of 2004 when I matriculated from Merced College, and it has been a fast paced collection of deadlines, fees, projects, challenges, and fun. I remember looking forward in the beginning to a long road that I might not reach the end of, but now when I look back I see many experiences that have been privileged to have been a part of and I know that I am a better and more complete person because of them.
What is the benefit of attending Fresno State?
I live in Merced, and even though it's over an hour's drive from my house to campus, I could never have attended a university that was too far away to drive to class. One real benefit for me is that a University like Fresno State is actually close enough for me to drive to class. People come from all over the world to attend Fresno State, and I am lucky enough to live in a city that is that close to a world class school.
Beside being close enough for me to drive to school, the social networking that takes place by attending class and meeting people. I participate in the advisory committee for the Industrial Technology Department at Merced College and the Faculty at Fresno State have always been supportive of that program. It allows me to get real life insight and experience of what it takes to work with programs from a higher administrative level of a program. The emphasis of the undergraduate and graduate programs have always been placed on management and by participating in advisory committee meetings, I have attained first hand experiences of the processes that need to happen in order to give input to the governing boards and committees that actually make steering decisions for businesses and institutions.
How do you balance classes, workload, job and social life?
My personal work ethic doesn't allow me to sit around and do nothing. When I have time on my hands I feel like I should be trying to work on something so that I don't look back and wish I would have spent my time more productively. Ever since I got out of the Army, I have never had less than one full time job and one part time job. Most of the time I have two part time jobs, and if that doesn't keep me busy I will always try and help someone else when I'm caught up. It's kind of like I been using Microsoft project to break down the work processes with my life and filling in the gaps with more things to do. When I attend school, I usually have to put one of the part time jobs on hold.
I would say using the word "balance" is putting it lightly. I would think that the majority of balance comes from having less social life outside of the campus. The school becomes your social avenue and the start of each semester had a feeling like "going in" as if I were joining the army or going some adventure into the great unknown. My wife would be my contact with the real world to keep me informed of what was going on with my children and my parents, but I would have to miss many family get-together's in order to attend class or put in the hours needed for study. At the end of each semester if felt like life would return to normal but the next semester would start in no time and it was time to "go back in again".
Many times at work I would spend my lunch hour finishing up homework assignments and for some classes I would go straight from work to school. When my class started at 6 or 7 pm and lasted until 10, often I would not get home until midnight and have to be back up at six the next morning to do it all again. I also had to eat many meals in my car. Meals on wheels you might say.
What tips do you have for prospective students?
If you're looking for a school that will challenge you, educate you, and make you a better person, than California State University, Fresno is the place to go. I would warn you that it's not easy and you will have to work hard from start to finish, but when you get to the end it will be so rewarding when doors open up that you never imagined, and you look at yourself and realize how much you actually learned along the way.