John Roos '18 wanted to work at a historic site since he was 10 years old and visited Gettysburg with his family. Without a college degree, he found himself making good money but at a job he didn't enjoy. Southern New Hampshire University (SNHU) helped him change that. "Now that I have my degree from SNHU, I'm working in my dream job," he said.
Now he uses his bachelor's degree in history every day as a park service ranger in Bullfrog, Utah. But the path to his dream job began with advice from an SNHU career services advisor that led to a volunteer position on the East Coast.
After earning his degree, Roos volunteered at a Revolutionary War park in New Jersey. It was a foot in the door of the industry he wanted to work in. Later, he guided tours at the George Washington Headquarters in Morristown, New Jersey, and then worked at Fort Washington Park outside Washington, D.C.
"My breakthrough moment was when SNHU Career Services told me to go for an internship. Within about 2 weeks I was volunteering and getting ready to give tours," Roos said. "I've been able to use my degree in history on a daily basis in my new jobs - giving tours, talking to people about the history of the park and what's gone on around it."
College was not a sure thing for Roos. In fact, he's the first in his family to earn a bachelor's degree - and upon completion of his degree, Roos came to New Hampshire to walk across the stage and accept his degree. He said the commencement ceremony was "emotional, it was exciting." He wasn't alone in feeling that way.
"My family - especially my mother - got to see that. My father bought a new suit," he said. "Everybody just had a lot of fun and I'm so happy I was a part of it."
Roos said a good word to describe himself is driven, but he learned that about himself while going to school online. If he could have given himself advice when he started, it would have been to have faith.
"If there was one thing I could have told myself at the start of my educational journey it would definitely be to never give up. It's all going to be worth it," he said. "You're going to achieve your dreams. You're going to keep moving forward in your life - don't ever give up."
Joe Cote is a staff writer at Southern New Hampshire University. Follow him on Twitter @JoeCo2323.