World Campus alum: “There’s a great reward at the end of the road”

Like many World Campus students, Brian Grimsley was dedicated to completing his course work while balancing a full-time job, raising multiple children, and more. After graduating from Penn State World Campus in 2006 with his B.A. degree in Law and Society, Brian went on to graduate cum laude from University of Akron School of Law. Today, he is an attorney (licensed to practice in both Ohio and Florida) and the president of the Grimsley Title Agency, where he works with real estate, wills, and trusts.

Now that he’s had several years to reflect on his path through college, he wanted to share some thoughts with current World Campus students.

“I wanted to go to law school, and Penn State gave me the flexibility I needed.”

Brian chose Penn State World Campus because, at the time, he was running a full-time title company in Canton, OH, and, as he says, “running a business and going back to class in the evenings would be difficult.”

Penn State was perfect for him, and Penn State’s reputation gave a great backing to his degree, he says.

World Campus helped him prepare for law school, especially, he says, because of World Campus’s focus on communications, writing, and reading. “You have to be self-motivated in law school, and World Campus really prepared me for this.”

Finding a balanced workload helped him as he pursued his degree.

“You have to find a balance,” he says, “and you have to work hard. When you’re tired some days, you might not feel like picking up a book — but you have to grin and bear it. Graduating from World Campus requires hard work and motivation.”

His biggest motivators were his children, who were attending college at the same time as him.

image of Brian Grimsley and his family
Brian Grimsley stands with his daughter, Amanda (L), and wife, Debbie (R).

“My children were going to college at the time — my daughter graduated from Michigan State, and my son attends Ohio State. Both took courses at World Campus while working towards their degrees. I knew I needed to set an example for my kids.

“It was great because we could relate to each other on things like our workloads and the pressures of exams. One nice thing about World Campus is that students take the same exams as traditional school, so I really knew the pressures of having to get good grades,” he says.

Brian loved the World Campus support system, including the undergraduate advising team.

“I have great memories of going through the whole process. My adviser Karen was fantastic,” he says. This support system helped him as he balanced the numerous demands of his life.

image of a "white out" from the 2005 Penn State football season
“Going on game day is a special event, especially when it’s a 'white out' game,” Brian says. “Interacting with the crowd, standing up and singing the alma mater — it’s a part of you, even though didn’t study on campus yourself.” Image courtesy Penn State Live.

“People have misperceptions about online college,” for example, that it will be easy and you earn your degree overnight, he says. “Penn State’s online program is challenging; you have to be prepared to work. Earning your degree through Penn State’s online program requires the same credit hours as the on-campus program.”

It’s a long process, but there’s a great reward at the end of the road.”

“It feels great to be a part of Penn State,” Brian says. He has been to campus numerous times, seeing fireworks on the Fourth of July, attending commencement and the World Campus graduation Open House ceremony, and standing in the crowd at football games.

“Going on game day is a special event, especially when it’s a ‘white out’ game,” he says. “Interacting with the crowd, standing up and singing the alma mater — it’s a part of you, even though didn’t study on campus yourself.”

He has donated to Penn State several times and is now a life member in Penn State’s Alumni Association.

“When you see people across the country with Penn State shirts, you really feel like you’re a part of that university,” he says.

Thanks for sharing with other students, Brian!