Experience at USM lauded;Business Management major obtains degree after a 13 year hiatus from school

Imagine being out of school for about 13 years and then deciding to go back. Thoughts of how you will fit in and how well you will do now dominate your mind. And, despite all the emotions and mental anguish, you follow through on your goal…obtaining a college degree.

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Well, this is exactly what Michel Hyman did. Hyman is one of seven students scheduled to graduate with their Associate of Arts Degree in Business from the University of St. Martin (USM) this Saturday. A total of 32 students are scheduled to graduate with various degrees at the event to be held at the Westin Hotel beginning at 7pm.

According to Hyman, there were three primary reasons that he went back to school namely: the desire to obtain a college degree, the aim to stand out as a role model for his three children and the goal of challenging and improving himself intellectually.

"It was challenging—working, going to school, and dealing with family life," says an enthused but modest Hyman. He further explains that he used to go to bed after 1 a.m. and still get up for 5 a.m. to go to work at the Princess Juliana Airport, where he has been employed for the past 17 years. He adds that after realizing that fitting in with his fellow classmates was just a matter of synchronization, all the rest fell into place.

"It takes a lot of self discipline and commitment to reach this far," says the Business Management graduate.

The environment at the University of St. Martin allows for the students to "learn how to learn with each other," says Hyman, while adding that working in group projects calls for collaboration, respect and an understanding for each other. He adds that his classmates were also very supportive and they always helped each out with tutoring and support, in general.

"Overall the learning experience at USM is great," says Hyman, while adding that knowledge obtained especially in the business classes is being used in his work. He is currently the Acting Manager for Airport Operations and is involved in almost every aspect of the day to day operations. Although his favorite class at USM was a history class taught by Mr. Alex Richards, he lauds the professionalism of all the instructors.

"Education is the key. Knowledge is power," the father of three stresses, as he encourages anyone who wants to increase their knowledge and grow, to go back to school. He adds that it can be USM or even online. Hyman notes that with knowledge people will be in a better position in life and also their careers. He adds that having a degree in your field of interest brings out more in you as an individual and it adds to the quality of work-life since the job will be seen more than just a source of a pay cheque.

"I would like to see the University of St. Martin grow. The school should be looked into and supported more by government," he says, while adding that a majority of students should be mandated to complete their associate degree here before being sent abroad.

"A community without knowledge is a community lost," he says, while further noting that, "We have USM here and should make proper use of it."

The USM graduate is already considering his next move. Hyman is already enrolled in the Bachelor’s program that USM offers in conjunction with the University of the Virgin Islands. USM wishes Mr. Hyman much success in his future endeavors.