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Meet Drew Jones, a recent ECL graduate that has found meaningful ways to incorporate his skills as an English major into his career as an insurance agent.

When Drew joined the UNC community in 1984, he never expected that he would have to wait until 2021 to complete his degree. Drew’s graduation was delayed when he was one semester short of enough credits, and he left school to work in his fathers’ business. While Drew had planned on returning within a semester he was then offered a position in the insurance business which led to a 31 year career.While working, however, he says “the desire to return and finish his degree” was always on his mind. One silver-lining of the the Covid-19 shutdowns was the opportunity to do just that:

“When COVID came along, Zoom allowed me to enroll in the classes needed to graduate. The door opened and I walked through. I am so thankful for the opportunity to complete my degree. I would like to see the UNC system offer more remote learning opportunities like the one that benefitted me. This opportunity meant the world to me.”

He has advice for others considering a return to school: “The keys to my success were time management and support from my family and coworkers. I recommend summer sessions. Although summer courses are fast paced and burdensome with many assignments, the sessions only last 5-6 weeks. This made my studies more manageable.”

Of the skills Drew developed in this time with the ECL, he says “Discipline is the most valuable skill I have learned. There were lots of times I did not feel like doing the work or missed out on fun with family. But I wasn’t willing to let anything stand in the way. I was able to get through the classes by focusing on the end result, my degree!”

Drew Jones speaks fondly of Professor Marc Cohen’s course, English 129: Literature and Cultural Diversity:

“Professor Marc Cohen is the most dedicated professor I have ever studied under. He puts in extra effort to prepare his students for success. He is passionate, caring, and demands great work, challenging students to consider views and opinions other than their own. He is always willing to meet with students individually, even on weekends, and I couldn’t have been successful without his guidance. I like to have my mind challenged, and Professor Cohen’s method of teaching does just that.”

Lastly, to students entering the job market, Drew had this advice:

“Find a career that you enjoy! Money is important, but, if you hate your job, it’s not a career, it’s a hassle! Liking what you do makes your work a career, and that contributes to a meaningful life. You only get one chance at living. Understand there will be twists and turns; the journey will not be without obstacles. Take the good with the bad, adjust, make the most of it and be happy!”