October 12, 2020

What's It Like to Be an Adult Student?: Julio Rivera, DAUS Student Spotlight

We at the Division of Applied Undergraduate Studies (DAUS) are so proud of our adult learners and post-traditional students as they help to define our community through their stories and life experiences and make it such an inspirational place. In fact, there are current employees at NYU who have earned, or who are currently pursuing, their undergraduate degrees at DAUS. A few of them recently offered their perspective on how the NYU SPS experience shapes their work-school-life balance. We’d like to highlight one of their stories below.

Meet Julio Rivera:

What is your current job title and what are your responsibilities?

I’m currently a Senior HPC (High Performance Computing) specialist within NYU’s HPC team.  I’m responsible for the administration of a 400+ node compute cluster for NYU researchers named Prince. We are currently undergoing a refresh of that cluster with a new 600+ node cluster, and I’ll be involved with deploying another cluster in parallel thanks to AMD’s donation for researchers undertaking COVID research. 

What degree are you earning with us? 

Currently working on my B.S. degree in Information Systems Management.

What compelled you to earn your degree with us? Why DAUS?

As a full time employee, I needed a program with a flexible schedule that included courses offered at night and online. DAUS provides an excellent portfolio of after hours and online courses that fits my schedule. The world-class education with outstanding professors is also a huge draw.

What was your favorite class? How did it influence your career path?

I’ve honestly enjoyed all my courses, so it’s tough to narrow it down to a few. A stats course I took in Fall 2019 was fun. It was a really good cohort and my professor was really engaging. My path to NYU is probably different when compared to the average student. I already have a career, which I love, so my goal to get my degree comes from a desire to complete a lifelong dream of earning a college degree. As a native New Yorker, earning the degree from NYU is even more special.

Are you working while pursuing your degree? If so, can you comment on the work-school-life balance you achieved?

At first I struggled with adapting to the work-school-life balance. Long hours at work followed up by courses at night, and my commute home was tough. Time management is critical, and if you don’t learn how to deal with it you’re setting yourself up for failure. I have to be careful which courses I decide to take each semester, usually choosing one online course and one in-person class. This semester is different because most courses, due to COVID, are remote, which I’m thankful for given the two major projects I’m involved in.

Any other future career/education goals on your mind?

I’ve only been focused on completing my degree so it’s tough to think ahead but I would like to work on getting a graduate degree. I know Tandon has a great Cybersecurity Program, but right now, it’s too far off to consider.

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