Even though Jason Boring planned to enroll in an online bachelor’s degree in criminal justice program, he liked the idea that Ball State was not hundreds of miles away. He had grown up in east central Indiana so he knew the university projected credibility.
An officer for New Castle Police Department, Boring was looking toward the day he would retire—at a young 45—and begin a second career in criminal justice.
With family responsibilities that include four children, he knew it would be impossible to study on campus or even attend full time online. But realizing it was time to finish his bachelor’s, he enrolled in Ball State’s online undergraduate degree in criminal justice and criminology in 2015.
Q: You’ve been pursuing your degree one class at a time, correct?
A: Being able to work on the online classes piecemeal has been a huge help. So I read a chapter, I do a quiz, then I take a test once the kids are in bed. My Kindle and the ease and mobility with which I can read my textbooks has greatly helped. Online classes allow me to take smaller bites, but still make very real progress on my degree. It has made the impossible possible. I am not in a particular hurry to graduate because I’ll be working 20 years to gain my pension.
Q: Have you had to adapt to online education?
A: This is the first experience I have had with online study. My main challenges have been adapting my learning style to a more self-reliant approach. Online study has been harder for me than having a professor and classroom time. Scheduling has been a struggle, too, due to my work and other family obligations. However, the professors have been very accessible to me via phone, text, e-mail. My advisors, too, have been very quick to help. They have helped me get the classes I need.
Q: What will your degree do for your second career?
A: I would like to transition my career from a police officer “on the street” to a management-related position within law enforcement, such as probation. I also enjoy teaching so I might go for my master’s and teach at a community college or at the Indiana Law Enforcement Academy as well. Regardless of which particular field I enter after retirement, a BA degree from Ball State will help me greatly on my way. I think that it will strengthen my skill set and help open doors in the future.