Tyler Struble left a career in theater to pursue an accounting degree. Yes, you read that correctly.
The 23-year old originally studied stage management in his first attempt at attending college straight out of high school at the age of 18, but after a year and a half he left to start a stage works company with one of his former high school teachers in his hometown of Canandaigua, New York.
“We did back stage work, technical productions – I was the stage manager, and we would rent equipment and supplies to different theaters. We’d come in, we’d set everything up, we’d build everything, and then we’d run the entire show,” he said.
But after four years, Struble was ready for a change. “I love to try new things so, I thought, you know, going online, doing the accounting degree – I’d do something new, something different. A nice nine-to-five office job. Doing accounting work for a nice large firm, I’d get weekends off. So I was motivated to try living the normal life. You know, theater’s not really a normal business to go into.”
The prospect of completing his degree online made it possible for Struble to manage his studies around his hectic schedule. He also wanted to make his family proud, as they had been very supportive when he left college to go into business for himself and when he decided to complete his degree online.
“I wanted the degree. I wanted to make it right with my family. I left school and I think they were a little disappointed that they didn’t have a graduate. I’d be the first student to graduate college in my family,” he said.
Struble graduated Spring 2016 with a BS in Accounting and hopes to secure a position in the financial district in New York City, where he currently lives.
Watching Struble cross the stage at graduation meant a lot to his grandparents. “I couldn’t be prouder of anybody in my whole life,” his grandfather said. “He’s gone on and beyond. He graduated from one college and he wanted to better himself more. He had his own business, made me very proud too, I had my own business when I was 18 years old and so seeing your grandson do this kind of stuff makes you very proud.”
NEC’s Guidance and Support Online
Struble was pleasantly surprised by the NEC’s online learning community. “There was 24-hour assistance, so if I needed to just email someone, they’d get right back to me and I really didn’t have any problems with accessing my classes or turning things in,” he said.
The faculty were quick to respond to his emails. One faculty member even went so far as to find tutorial videos from other schools to help Struble master a concept in one of his management classes that he was having trouble grasping.
“One of the videos stood out and I actually learned the material for the week. And because he went above and beyond I aced the test that week,” he said.
Struble also appreciated the diverse viewpoints from classmates, some of which lived as far away as California and Oregon, while others were nearby in Brooklyn. Struble was also able to connect with some of his fellow accounting majors through discussion boards.
“There were a couple of students I had repetitively in all my classes and we would always count on each other’s discussion boards—because you had to do a minimum of so many discussions—so we’d always work off of each other. We’d use some teamwork, so we’d have our quota for the week,” he said.