Carey and her significant other plan to conquer every digital arts program we offer, between them. We expect them to take the world by storm any day now. Also, how cute is that kid?!
Q. What drew you to the programs at the Centre for Distance Education?
“I came to CD-ED by accident really… I was doing a little research online about different school in my area that offered the field of study I was looking for and was coming up with not too much…. After I pretty well gave up looking for schools, I started looking into funding options and clicked a link and I found CD-ED! About 20 minutes later, I was on the phone talking with a man named Scott who explained the entire thing to me about distance learning and how I get my course materials and I was sold…
“I was a little scared at first… I spent so long looking for an option that suited my life and wasn’t coming up with anything… I needed to be able to work full-time hours and be home to look after my son and my home… CD-ED allowed me to do those things, so I thought it was too good to be true, so I kindly told him I would give it some more thought and would get back to them about applying…”
Q. Why did you then decide to take a home-study college program from the Centre for Distance Education?
“At that point, Scott did something that I really needed… He said why wait, why not apply right now, just do it… at first I felt like he was pushing me, and then I realized he was and why he was doing it… I think he recognized that I was a little worried that everything was too good to be true… that I could actually get a proper education and still live my life… So he gave me the push I needed…. within 20 minutes after that, I was approved for school, e-mailed him my GED diploma and was looking into student loans.”
Q. Was the program at all what you expected? If so, how? If not, why?
“To be honest, my expectations before starting were pretty skeptical… I was half expecting to receive a bunch of garbage sheets of paper in the mail and end up leaving the course knowing NOTHING about design, but that was quickly turned around. From the minute I got my first shipment of books and got started, I realized that this was no different than attending school in a regular class, aside from the fact that my classroom was at home.”
Q. Which part of the course did you find the most challenging?
“The most challenging part of my first year at CD-ED was not at all related to the course work… I had started behind as it took a little longer to get some of the materials I needed, but I caught up quick, and sure, the work was sometimes very challenging, but that’s the point… what’s the point in studying something you already know? If it’s not a challenge, what’s the point in doing it? I ran into some personal hardships at multiple times throughout my course, which put me behind again, and I was worried about losing my financing among other things, and I was expecting to have phone calls from my instructors hassling me about it, but everyone was incredibly helpful and gave me the time I needed. While dealing with these personal issues, I was ready to give up because I was so behind, it was overwhelming me, but the school and my instructors were incredibly understanding and helpful and gave me the time I needed to get caught up.”
Q. How was the instructor support during your program?
“On the personal note, the instructors we’re great, but on the educational support side, they were AWESOME! There was one thing in particular I remember that I struggled with for DAYS, and I mean DAYS, and it was something so simple, and I just wasn’t getting it… I remember calling Gayle Bird and saying that I know she had already explained it to me 2 or three times but I’m just not getting it… She took the time to go on a program where I could see her computer screen and she talked to me over the telephone and showed me how… while it was something so simple and she was incredibly busy, she took the time to make sure I got it… There was never a time where I felt alone, and when I didn’t understand something, it didn’t bother me because I knew that I had all the help I needed and it was just a phone call or e-mail away.”
Q. How did you schedule your study time to work around your home life?
“Scheduling my work was a little tough for me, as I didn’t really have a home life schedule at that point… it’s hard to do when you work shift work and have a 2 year old… so I was just sort of scattered and did things when I could…. I soon realized that wasn’t going to get me very far, so that’s actually a totally unexpected aspect of my life that was enhanced by my time with CD-ED. I leaned time management and how to keep organized and get things done. My household runs MUCH smoother now, and I never would have got it all on track if I weren’t studying at home.”
Carey’s answers turned into the story of her time here, so we’re presenting it as she wrote it without our questions interrupting:
“I came across on ad on the internet for a person selling some design books… I was looking to add a few interesting titles I found on the internet to my already EXCELLENT collection I had started with my CD-ED materials… when I clicked on the ad, I realized it was the ENTIRE list of course books that I already had, and they were selling them for $50!!! I couldn’t imagine ever getting rid of anything that was provided to me by the school… every book is a resource for more information, and every book is a reference for the future, and every single page of each book has highly valuable information…
“While I was doing the course, I didn’t understand why certain topics were covered, but now that I’m working, I understand completely, and I can honestly say that so far, every freelance design project I’ve taken on, I’ve referenced back to lessons and notes that I had marked off in my text books to help me get the job done.
“I feel I was very successful with my first CD-ED course. While the instructors, school, and the course materials we’re definitely a huge factor of that success, I never could have done any of this without the support of my family…. Not every minute was fun… there we’re times where I was up LATE into the night working on something, or trying to get an assignment just right… There was once where everyone had gone to bed and got back up in the morning and I was STILL at it… (I was determined and I wasn’t stopping until I finished that assignment that had been giving me a hard time all week!!!) My fiancée would get up, get our son his breakfast, make me a coffee and do everything he could to make sure I was comfortable… Overall, he just supported me, and listened to me go on for HOURS at a time about the new little trick I picked up in Photoshop, and would sit through my little demonstrations of showing him these things I was learning…. I swear, you guys should probably send him a diploma because as I learned new skills, I pretty well drilled them into his head too!
“It was so important for me to have my family supporting me with all of this as there were times that just didn’t have the freedom to spend a random evening playing, or going out to dinner, etc. And they understood that… And while I know there were times they felt frustrated that my time was so occupied, when I graduated and got that diploma, They shared in my excitement, almost as if it was their name on it because they know that I couldn’t have done it without them.
“While I was finishing up the final lessons of my course, I had actually started taking on some simple jobs to get a head start on my portfolio… Now that I’ve graduated I’m working freelance full time and have been taking on some more serious jobs, I’ve noticed this is a really competitive field, and you sometimes find yourself competing for jobs with hundreds of other designers…. What I’ve noticed is that in order to succeed, you need to stand out amongst the crowd… CD-ED has given me many different things that help me stand out… the main quality being a good education! More specifically, they gave me a chance to go to school on my own terms, so I always had time to put my all into assignments and achieve good grades, which earned me a spot on the President’s list… Employers like that!
“Another thing is that everything I learned is completely industry standard and up to date, meaning I know what people want NOW, not what people wanted 5 years ago… With a good education, current materials and knowledge and simply good manners and professionalism, I’ve competed for a few different jobs against people that have been doing this for years and I’ve won the project because I’m “Fresh”….. That’s how one client explained it to me at least… Since I’m just really starting out in my career, I haven’t been earning a ton, but my monthly income and project load is increasing each month, and as long as I’m consistent, I know it will continue to do so.
“Being consistent certainly won’t be a problem as I point blank love my job… I get to get up in the morning, have a nice relaxing breakfast with my son, grab a coffee and I head to my home office… I normally leave the door open so I’m not cut off from everyone… and I get to spend my work day doing what I’m passionate about…”
On a Personal Note
Q. Would you feel comfortable recommending the Centre for Distance Education to a friend or co-worker?
“I will DEFINITELY be recommending CD-ED’s courses to everyone I know! I’ve actually already done so, and my Fiancée is almost ready to start his first course! By the time he and I are done taking all the courses we plan on, between the two of us, we will have completely covered all the courses CD-ED offers for the Digital Arts, and I think we’ll make a pretty powerful team!”
Q. Do you have any advice for students taking a program with the Centre for Distance Education?
“The best advice I can offer to other current and new students of CD-ED is never give up… Give your course and this school your all and they’ll return it to you 10 times over. And don’t take your time with CD-ED for granted…. absorb every word your instructors offer to you as they will never lead you in the wrong direction and most importantly, I’m going to re-word an old saying here….. When the going gets tough, the tough ask for help!!! Don’t miss out on an opportunity to learn from your mistakes. That’s what education is all about. If you came to CD-ED to better your life and open yourself up some windows of opportunity, you’re definitely in the right place… but your instructors can’t help you open the window if they don’t know its nailed shut! Take charge of your education and your life and you will leave CD-ED confident that you will succeed.”
Check out Carey’s small business website at www.careybeers.com.