Matthew Kreider is a new father working toward his spring 2021 graduation while balancing his growing career in marketing data analytics. Here’s his story:
What will be your graduation year and degree from Penn State World Campus?
What is your current hometown?
My true hometown is York, PA, but I currently reside in Aldie, VA.
What/where is your current career and workplace?
I’m a publishing specialist at ASIS International in Alexandria, VA.
What does a typical workday look like for you? How do you fit in your online studies?
Like most working parents, my day always starts with getting my kid up and off to daycare. On the two days I’m not commuting an hour each way to the office, I’m working from home. Workwise, I work with a good bit of data for circulation and inventory management as well as metrics gathering. I also do a bit of creative design and newsletter deployment. At home, I enjoy firing up the grill for dinner while catching up on the day’s news. Once the little one is down for the night, I tend to crank out school work on the couch next to my wife while we enjoy some of our favorite shows. In my free time, I like to play guitar and work on studio recordings. Typically, in order to fit in my studies, I plan my week out to balance other obligations. It’s a little bit ‘art,’ a little bit ‘magic.’
How did you become interested in your career?
I’ve always been the creative type and knew I wanted to go into business, so marketing was a natural fit. Ironically, it became analytics that fueled my career path. It started during my undergraduate studies at Clarion University, where I was fascinated by the idea of predicting buyer behavior using data as a science. After graduating in 2009 and relocating to D.C. in 2010, however, it seemed most organizations sought candidates with extensive experience, so it’s been a journey to get to this point.
Has Penn State World Campus impacted your career? How?
Absolutely. My organization’s goals are very similar to my career goals. Although the organization does not yet see the full potential of my contribution, they are already looking to expand, modify, or advance my role in the firm. This comes even before I have received my certificate, which speaks a lot to their confidence in my abilities and provides the opportunity for that real-life experience I’ve been seeking.
What are some challenges that you have faced as a Penn State World Campus student? How have you overcome these challenges?
My wife was about 4–5 months pregnant when I decided to enroll; but I knew if I didn’t take the leap at that point, I never would. By the time I started classes, I was a first-time father with new challenges. The real trick was having the right work-life balance, as I wanted to be a present and supportive husband and father, but did require the separate quiet time to complete course work. Establishing mutual expectations and a daily routine were keys to success. I ended up getting mental breaks from late night study sessions by soothing my son whenever he woke up, which also gave my wife some extra sleep. While the nights got better at home, the days got a little harder, as my boss announced her battle with cancer. During a two-month span this past spring, I was juggling fatherhood, two courses, my regular responsibilities at work, as well as my boss’s responsibilities while she recovered from surgery. Thankfully, she is back to work and my I can breathe a sigh of relief on her behalf and mine! In the end, it all came down to time management and organization.
How do you stay connected with the University?
I’m connected through all the major social media outlets. I’ll be sure to attend some PSU–related events in the D.C. area if I ever get the time!
What is some advice that you would give to fellow online learners?
- Plan out your entire semester with due dates and evaluate weekly workloads if possible. Make note of weeks with tight deadlines or weeks with no assignments due. Organize yourself to mirror course structures.
- Family time can be a great mental break from studies. Life is too short, so enjoy those little moments.
- Last but not least — sometimes reading just the “Conclusion” section of those research journals can save you a lot of time while still retaining the overall information.