Colleges & Schools 

Open your eyes and plan for a better future

Emily Reed stopped going to school when
she graduated from high school in 2008, but
she didn’t stop dreaming about a better life.
Now she’s back in school and on track to get
an associate degree from Vincennes University’s
Aviation Technology Center in Indianapolis.

Reed’s story is an example of how any job can become a springboard to something better.

The 31-year-old Ohio native lived in a shelter and worked part-time while she was in high school, and then made ends meet after graduating by working in retail. Three years ago, she began working in Indianapolis cleaning airplanes and working in food service for a FedEx vendor, Gate Gourmet.

The aviation maintenance technicians she encountered while she was at work thought she should aim higher. “A few of the AMTs I knew had encouraged me to look into going to schooI—to do what they do. I always loved being around planes, so I looked into it. I’m very grateful that I did.”

Reed expects to join her AMT friends when she graduates in the fall of 2022. She’s working toward her degree by going to in-person classes six hours a day while working full-time and taking care of her 11-year-old daughter. 

“I would be lying if I said it wasn’t rough—the long nights and days. But I have to remember I’m doing this for a better life for myself and my daughter.”

Reed has three pieces of advice for people trying to balance school, work and family.

Keep a calendar and put everything on it—tests, quizzes, meetings, soccer games, etc.

Surround yourself with a positive support network. Whether family, coworkers or classmates, having people in your life who encourage you means a lot.

Make time for what’s important—family and the people who support you. 

Interested in an aviation career? Indiana has three public-school options. Besides the Vincennes Aviation Technology Center in Indianapolis that Emily Reed attends, Purdue University and Indiana State University offer a variety of programs that prepare students for aviation careers.

Going Back?

Here are some oft-repeated and valuable pieces of advice for anyone considering going back to school:

  • Know how long it will take you to achieve your educational goals 
  • Identify a support system, the people who can help you over that period of time
  • Consider support available through the school itself (financial aid and tutoring, for example)
  • Let go of perfection
  • Remember, it’s temporary
  • Take care of yourself

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