TALK with Olivia Wann

Olivia Wann

Olivia Wann of Dover, Tenn., began to finish her undergraduate degree through the College's distance education program in 2003 - by going to summer school on campus. Every summer since then, she's made the trip to Maine for all three sessions, except for 2004, when she attended two sessions. By this fall, she will have completed 66 credits in 11 summer sessions, as well as several courses through off-campus independent study. She expects to earn her Bachelor of Science in Health Care Administration by the fall and will march at Commencement in May of 2007.

Why did you essentially do your program through on-campus summer sessions?

The workload is not as mentally taxing or physically stressful as trying to work as well as going to school. My work schedule does not allow me to take traditional classroom courses at a college or university.

How many courses do you typically take during a session?

For each two-week session this summer, I am taking two courses. If you want to get to your goal you will, but I think more people need to know that it is possible to come and take classes here.

“There are lots of resources here, and for me it is like an oasis away from work.”
— Olivia Wann

What do you do for a living?

I'm a self-employed consultant. I started my own business in 2000. My firm helps dentists manage their practices, so I'm often traveling, making presentations and writing.

How can you take off so much time from your business?

Arranging time off to attend school is a matter of careful planning and preparation. I basically work up to seven days a week from January to May in order to take the six weeks off. I continue writing while in school - I'm a columnist for a dental journal, Contemporary Oral Hygiene and I attend to clients over the phone and through e-mail while at SJC.

My clients have been very understanding regarding my scheduling .... They have strongly encouraged me to finish school so that I can better serve them, particularly since my degree program is in my field.

How does your family react to summers away?

My family has been supportive emotionally. In early August, I turned 40 and my husband flew to Maine for Recognition Night. That is the best present I'll ever receive. These are the types of things that keep me going despite the stacks of books that I have to read and study!

Do you enjoy the campus environment?

Yes. It is not intimidating. For an adult to return to school could be potentially intimidating; that is not the case here. It is easy to make friends and people are willing to assist you .... There are lots of resources here, and for me it is like an oasis away from work.

Do you get to know people because you've come back repeatedly?

I've made friendships that will remain intact for years to come. My roommate this summer has also been an active summer session student. We keep in touch even when we're not here.

What is the biggest benefit of summer sessions?

Being able to get everything done and receive credits quickly.