Timothy Livingston wasn’t ready for college when he first enrolled 20 years ago. But now, as a parent of three and general manager of network operations at Kansas City Southern Railway, he’s six months into completing his Bachelor of Business Management degree.
“The motivation to earn my degree 20 years later while working full time, parenting full time, and managing my career has to do with investing in myself,” said Livingston. “This accomplishment is vital in reaching my career goals within the company I work for. Baker is providing me the opportunity to equip myself to ensure I do not miss an opportunity at the appropriate time.”
In addition to his career, Livingston wants to be an inspiration to his children, who are 10, 7, and 3 years old.
Kansas City Southern recommends Baker University to its employees and also provides tuition reimbursement, which first led Livingston to consider taking the plunge back into school.
“As I began to contemplate returning to college, I asked a couple of colleagues who earned their degree through Baker about the school,” Livingston said. “Their responses concerning the format of classes, ease of enrolling, and overall academic support throughout their degree encouraged me to take the leap. And they were correct. The support has been incredible, allowing me to focus solely on engaging in the course work.”
After deciding to enroll, Livingston quickly saw the benefits of becoming Baker built.
“The minute I reached out to Baker University to discuss continuing my education [enrollment advisor] Heidi Shelton, was all over securing my enrollment,” he said. “The experience differed from my previous college enrollment experiences, where the burden of planning was on me as the student. Heidi was clearly prepared to discuss what it was going to take from me in order to accomplish my educational goals.”
Thanks to Shelton and academic advisor Brianna Patton, Livingston began his first class, BU110 Introduction to Business Education taught by Megan Friedman.
“When I finished this first class I was confident that Baker understood me as a student,” Livingston said. “The class covered a lot of the basics that would refresh my knowledge around college writing, educate me on Baker policies, and familiarize me with Moodle, access points for Collins Library, and so much more.”
As he continued in his studies, Livingston found his course work to be immediately applicable.
“Baker understands that I have some knowledge of business, and really gets into the heart of the subject early on in my courses,” he said. “That approach is refreshing and challenging as well. It is a much different feel attending college while working, which allows one to apply the lesson in a real-life setting immediately.”
With three kids and a full-time job, balancing school can be a challenge. Livingston cites the Moodle app and website, which can be accessed by students at any time, for keeping him focused, as well as a regular course schedule.
“Most due dates are standard, therefore allowing me to plan my course work around my weekly schedule,” Livingston said. “Since the due dates are mostly the same across each course, I am able to structure the balance of school, work, and family life. Without this standardization across each course, I would have to adjust my schedule at the beginning of each course.”
Livingston plans to use his education to advance in his career.
“Ultimately, earning my degree will open up additional opportunities within the company I work for, while also equipping me with tools and knowledge to execute at a higher level,” he said.
While it’s a hectic schedule to keep up with, Livingston thrives in an adrenaline-fueled environment.
“[My wife’s and my] first date was skydiving, and our life has been about that exciting ever since,” said Livingston. “[Our kids] are adrenaline junkies themselves; therefore, they keep us busy trying to keep life exciting enough for them.”
While his future career is motivating, Livingston’s ultimate reason for returning to school was to demonstrate the importance of working toward a goal to his thrill-seeking children.
“My kids are a huge factor, as I want to be an example for them,” Livingston said. “While I wish I had finished school just out of high school, my kids watching me work through my course work has unintentionally exposed them to study habits and the importance of continuing their education. This is something they otherwise would have never seen.”