When it comes to the UA Grantham faculty, the wealth of knowledge and interesting experiences they bring to the table is seemingly endless. We recently caught up with Kos Semonski, an adjunct instructor with the College of Engineering and Computer Science.
UA Grantham: What brought you to Grantham?
Kos Semonski: After finishing my Master’s work, I had a deep desire to “give back.” Being a veteran and the dependent of a currently serving Naval Officer, I was interested in working at a university that not only offered great academic opportunities, but also focused on and served our military service members. I found Grantham during my initial survey of available institutions for which to work.
UAG: What do you like best about being a member of the faculty at Grantham?
KS: I enjoy the flexibility of online teaching. Grantham offers incredible opportunities to blend work, life and school together in a single day. UA Grantham’s online degree program environment is quite matured and developed with tools that enhance the students’ experience, as well as the instructors’ experience.
UAG: How does a degree from Grantham help people accomplish their goals?
KS: Academics are best served over a lifetime. Being a life-long learner truly describes most successful people. Grantham offers courses in eight-week terms, and new starts occur every week. So the opportunity for a new student to "jump in" at just about any time is always there, and it's part of the overall focus on flexibility. There's also academic diversity, with the University offering dozens of degree and certificate programs in a variety of disciplines. These are just some of the reasons I consider UA Grantham a "partner" in students' futures.
UAG: Do you have any advice for someone who is thinking about going back to school?
KS: My advice is to get going! Years ago I realized that no one was going to show me the way. If life was going to happen for me, I needed to get moving. Too often we wait for something or someone to tell us to move – someone to show us the way. Remember, life is a journey, not a destination or a race, so you can go any direction, and you can start at any time. Jump in, get moving, because life is what YOU make of it.
UAG: What are you most passionate about? What drives you in life?
KS: Knowledge. I seek knowledge. It’s that life-long learning thing again. Never think you know it all, and never stop seeking clarity to the questions you have. Keep it fun, enjoy what you do, and seek to do your best in everything that you do. Remember that idle people want much but get little, but those who work hard will prosper.
UAG: What do you think is the most interesting thing about you?
KS: What I find interesting may not be what others find interesting. However, I believe I have a very unique ability to embrace and thrive in the traditional “introverted technoid” world, while concurrently enjoying time as an extrovert meeting people and exploring relationships. Years ago, I leveraged these gifts when I worked as an outside sales representative offering information technology solutions to businesses.
UAG: Do you have a tip that could help the type of students taking your classes?
KS: Well, I learned to ALWAYS embrace commute time to work. I would record chapter summaries and end of chapter questions and answers as audiobooks and then listen to them as I drove or rode the bus/train to work. Leverage the time you have. This allowed me to immensely increase my study time. Maybe it took me 30 minutes to get a good recording, but then, I could listen to it for HOURS during the week. It really enhanced my success rate with the classes I took. This also is a GREAT way to prepare for midterm and final exams.
Another tip is don’t let discouragement dictate your success rate. For instance, when I was studying advanced information technology topics, often I would hear other students complain that the lessons were too complicated and that they did not have the ability to “practice” this new knowledge at work. I too did not have the opportunity to practice it at work, and I found myself being controlled by this self-imposed limitation. Then I laughed at myself, saved my money, and built my own virtual server. It was not as powerful as a “business class” machine, but it did allow me to simulate many of the environments that I needed to remove the self-imposed obstacles and complete my academic pursuits.
So, I guess the lessons here are to control your own destiny by taking what you have to build what you need. Be your very own MacGyver. (Now if that doesn’t date me, nothing else will!)