Education opens up a whole new world

Betrina Tyson

It was downright scary, Betrina Tyson said, to become a student again after nearly 30 years out of the classroom.

Oh, she’d gotten married, served in the military, traveled around the world, raised three children, taken care of ill family members, held good jobs.

But still.

Cracking open a textbook was intimidating, especially when many of her fellow students were much younger. In fact, Betrina and her daughter started Stark State classes together. “My kids encouraged me,” Betrina said.

Stark State’s Downtown Canton Satellite Center made taking the plunge easier.  “I feel at home here,” the Canton native and Timken High School alum said. “This is my community.”

Finding the right balance between schoolwork and her other responsibilities was the key, she said, that’s allowed her to really hit her stride. She has her eye on a degree in human and social services, but also is thinking of adding some business classes, maybe even getting a higher degree. “Now that I’m getting close to graduating, I can see myself going on,” she said. “I want to take it to the next level.”

Stark State is the perfect place to come, especially in Canton’s downtown, Betrina said. “I love that it’s close to home and it’s a relaxed atmosphere so you can feel comfortable while you learn. There’s a diverse student body. You have a real connection with good instructors – you’re always able to go to them for help and they even accommodated me when I had to have surgery.

“The more I come to college, the more I enjoy it,” she said. “I’ve been all over the world and never thought I’d come back home and learn something. Being in college is enlightening; there’s always something I’m learning. I think I can relate to people better because of the things I’ve learned here. It opens your eyes to so many things you’re not aware of.”

Although she’s now a student worker providing academic support services in the math lab, Betrina arrived at Stark State “with no goals,” she admitted. “I just knew employers wanted you to have at least some college, so that’s what I did. It’s the best thing I’ve ever done for myself, as both a student and a person. You become a more productive person and citizen; it connects you. A little bit of education opens up a whole world. You’ve got to have transferable skills today.  If you have the opportunity to go back to school, take it while it’s available.

“Coming to Stark State has helped me so much. I’ll take this experience with me wherever I go. I’ve found I’ve still got a lot to offer.”