My Motlow Story
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The day before Jeremey Wood attended an employee meeting at Nissan's Decherd plant, he had no idea he would soon be enrolling in college to finish an education he began 12 years earlier. Work at the Nissan plant had slowed down because of the economy and fulltime employees were only getting 32-36 hours a week and having to use vacation time to make up a 40-hour work week.
A representative of the company came from Smyrna to talk about employee benefits and as Wood described, "It was like a slap in the face for me!"For the first time since his brief college experience right after high school, his mind opened to the possibility of going back to college when he was told of tuition assistance from his employer.
Wood explained, "I graduated from Giles County High School with honors. That fall I enrolled at the University of Alabama in Huntsville, Ala. and didn't even make it a full semester because I didn't have the drive to succeed at that young age."
Wood returned home, did computerized drafting for a steel company in Pulaski for four years before acquiring his computer maintenance job at Nissan. Meanwhile he got married, had two children, moved to Estill Springs and he was comfortable in his job of eight years. As he explains it, "I love my job and I didn't decide to go back to school to get another job, I decided to go back to school to become a better employee and build a firmer education foundation for extra security for my family."
In 2010, Wood enrolled at Motlow College because of its proximity to his home. He and his wife decided they would make any sacrifices necessary for him to take advantage of the tuition assistance offered by his employer. He describes himself as a full-time everything; a full-time family man, a full-time employee of Nissan (working his shift Friday, Saturday and Sunday) and a full-time student at Motlow College during the week. According to Wood, his decision to come back to school is, "...the best thing I could have done!"
Wood said he knew he made the right decision from the moment he met with the staff of financial aid and registered for his first classes. "Even though I was scared to death, every person I came into contact with was caring and understanding; it was apparent from the beginning that I would not be doing this on my own, I would have support every step of the way."
He continued, "I don't know if it's like this everywhere else but I even met every one of my instructors before I stepped foot in the classroom. I think the thing I like the most at Motlow is it's almost like everyone here is family and they want you to succeed."
Wood is active in the Honors Program and says he enjoys the extra academic challenges. During the student recognition awards in the spring of 2012 he received the President's Service Award. The new award was established to recognize the student having the greatest impact on the Honors Program for the year. He was commended for his hours of volunteer tutoring and continued academic excellence.
His advice for others considering going back to school is, "If I can do it, anybody can do it. When you decide this is what you want to do, mean it. Come to Motlow and talk to a wonderful staff of people that are here to help you."He added, "When you come to college, know that you have to put in the effort and sometimes it's a lot of work. I came here to become a better person, a more educated person."
Wood's parents wanted him to go to college years ago because he would be the first in the family to do so. He said, "I know they are proud of me no matter what but I always felt like I let them down in a way. I always knew I could do better."He continued, "I am grateful for this opportunity and I try not to just look at Motlow as a stepping stone to somewhere else; It's an experience on its own."