College at 30 in the Middle of a Pandemic!

Yep you read that right, as I remind people its never too late to learn. I will be receiving my Associates in Audio Engineering from  SAE Institute. You’re next question is probably why I have chosen a different path in life? well its simple at 18 you think you know what you want to do in life or maybe you have no clue so you choose the easiest or most suited degree for you! 

Growing up I was fortunate enough to start voicing radio commercials at the age of 9. This then turned into a passion of mine and I knew I wanted to be on the radio. My first degree was a BA in Communications. As I didn’t really know what else to get into for radio. 

Fast Forward to getting my first real job in radio. I slowly discovered that radio isn’t what it use to be. ( I will post a post of what I mean about this later) I found a new love of the radio the part that makes everything happen on the backend of things. I became very close friends with the engineers at my radio station in Tucson. We had four radio stations and two TV stations, it was such a wonderful experience. I realized as years passed that’s where my true passion is! I just didn’t think getting an actual job as an audio engineer could eve happen. To get a job in that field you need a degree/certificate for anyone to even think about hiring you. I worked at those stations for 4 years then transferred to our sister stations in Knoxville, TN. Again I took a job that wasn’t for me but hoped in the end that I would be able to move into a different department. Becoming friends with the head engineer and production guys seems to be a theme.

These stations ended up being bought by another company after about 6 months of being there. It became apparent that my dream of moving into a different department would be something that I would probably never see happen. Back to the job hunting… before moving to Tennessee I applied for a position at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum. I got pretty far but they decided not to take a chance on a girl from AZ. Well low and behold that job was available again a few years later and I applied! 

After 3 months and 6 interviews I accepted the position as Events Admin Assistant at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum in Nashville, TN. Now again you are probably thinking well that isn’t near what you are getting into. Well I had a plan. I knew that they had a whole production and events team that I wanted to be a part of so I took this job knowing that it could possibly get me to where I wanted to be! 

Well it’s the year 2O2O and if you learned anything about this year, is that NOTHING turns out the way you thought it would. I worked there from February to June. If you do the math it took almost the same amount of time for me to interview for the job as it took for me to be let go of the job. Now it’s not my fault, it’s the economy in which we all faced with the country shutting down longer than we had expected. I understand from a business point of view why they had to let go of 30% of the employees. It seems that anytime something good could happen in my career, it gets pulled right from underneath me.

As I realized that I was going to be unemployed for the first time in my career life, things started to hit me.  I didn’t have anywhere to go because the whole country was shut down and every business had hiring freezes. This time in my life gave me the opportunity to reflect on where I was and what path I wanted to take.  I started wondering if going back to school would be the next best thing? Actually go get the degree of Audio Engineering under my belt. I started researching schools here in Nashville, I mean I am in Music City USA so there had to be some. Well after many days researching I had found myself enrolling at SAE Institute for their Audio Program. 

This gave me anxiety as I found myself realizing I had to deal with Financial Aid and loans again. Can I take this on? I don’t have a job, how am I going to afford this? Thankfully I have a wonderful partner who supports me in everything that I do. He reminded me that it will all work out and to take it one day at a time! 

One of the firs things I had to get done was to take a test. The “Wonderlic Test” it is an assessment used to measure the cognitive ability of problem solving capacity of potential students or employees. It’s pretty insane test if you have never taken one I suggest you should. It’s interesting because you have to answer so many questions in the matter of half the time of the questions answered. Try it here as a practice run

As I started my classes in the middle of July everything is at home based through ZOOM calls. The school thought we would go back to in- class learning in the fall. Hoping everything would hopefully start opening back up. Here I am in November and still learning via ZOOM. For the first few months I did not have a desk or stationary spot for school. I attempted at using a folding table in the kitchen with my computer and IPAD. Let me tell ya how difficult it was to focus in class while my partner was either cooking dinner or in the extra bedroom practicing for gigs. Thankfully I had found a desk both sitting and standing for under $200 for school and transitioned our extra bedroom into a work space. I was very thankful to be able to find a stand up desk so I can change things up for my 3 hour classes.

 Going to a technical school during a pandemic has been interesting to say the least. When you are expected to be hands on with equipment and learning technical processes has been very difficult! I have to book a time with the school if I want to have any studio time to practice. I have to wear a mask and gloves inside, I also have to get my temperature checked when I come in. I am only allowed 2 hrs. every time I book a slot. I also am only allowed 2-3 people in a studio at a time. Now I don’t know about you but usually a band has more than 2 people in it. Thanfully, I have had the opportunity to work with other classmates on recording tracks for their projects. The funny thing is, is I am not a musician nor a singer so I do not have personal projects to work on. Instead I am using my partner and his friends to record demos for them! 

This has been my journey into going back to school at 30 and in a middle of a pandemic! I am trying my best with the tools and resources I have during all of this, I have to remind my self, “Your present circumstances do not determine where you can go; they merely determine where you start”- Nido Qubein

Don’t let all of the negative thoughts stop you from what you want to accomplish!! 


  • Jazmin

    I’ve been wanting to go back and get my masters for a while now and it feels like COVID has put a damper on so much – esp with the price of everything going up! Thanks for sharing your story. Gonna go look at programs now… 😉

  • wattsup

    I feel you and I was soo scared like I mentioned but you don’t want to look back and said “I wish I had..” I also only say do it if you feel it will better you mentally and financially because getting into more school debt isn’t worth it if you will not make the money back! <3

  • MiShelle

    OMG I only had Zoom for half my term and I absolutely hated it! I’m such a hands on and in person learner my grade dropped tremendously. I made it but not by much, and then no pinning ceremony of nursing program or graduation so was really bummed but happy it was over with.
    I’m glad you have a supportive person by your side to guide you into this direction. From way over here seems like it’s working out and wish you the best with this new adventure as well!

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