In today’s society, students are under quite a bit of pressure to go straight into college or trade school after graduating high school. While this is the typical progression of education, not everyone earns a college degree in his or her second decade. Meet Mark Manship, a 32-year-old Honors student. He has three sons and lives in Anderson, Ind. While managing adult life and college at the same time has been a challenge for him, he has a good support system: “I attribute my success thus far to my wonderful wife, who has supported my goal of higher education and furthering my career,” Manship said. Without her support, he said he would not be able to balance these roles successfully.
Manship attended IUPUI after high school, where he failed and dropped out during his first semester. In 2007, he completed a carpentry apprenticeship with Associated Builders and Contractors. It was this learning experience that spurred his desire to go back to school and begin the move toward a more professional career. He decided to take some classes at Ivy Tech and received his associate’s degree in Design Technology with an Architecture discipline last May. Manship’s new degree allowed him to attain a job in building control and encouraged him to continue his higher education so he could work toward a management position.
Once he decided to continue furthering his education, Manship was faced with the choice of which university to attend. Many of his family members and friends attended Ball State, so he had a good knowledge of the reputation it held. The university is close to his hometown, but since he was accustomed to the smaller community college setting, Ball State’s size was intimidating. Having been part of Phi Theta Kappa Honors at Ivy Tech, Manship’s peers encouraged him to consider other honors opportunities. He learned of the Ball State Honors College when he received his student application to Ball State. The smaller class sizes of the Honors College appealed to him, as they provided a similarly intimate experience. He also believed that the students in the Honors program would be less concerned with social desires and more attuned to their academics, which could foster a better learning environment for him. “I don’t have the option of living on campus or joining social clubs, so this is also my opportunity to be a part of a type of fraternity while at Ball State,” Manship said.
Manship said he was initially attracted to the architecture program at Ball State, but he eventually decided to pursue a Construction Management degree with a minor in Business Administration to suit his career path. This semester, he is taking 12 credit hours, in addition to his job as a full-time Associate Engineer at Automated Logic Indiana. His schedule is hectic, but he knows that receiving this degree will further his career. Manship’s employer has allowed him to adjust his work schedule to allow time for classes. Some days, he has to work much later than most employees, but he structures his class schedule so that he misses the minimum amount of work hours. This busy schedule doesn’t leave much time for watching TV or taking up hobbies like some of his coworkers, but he makes time to spend with his family.
Manship said he has enjoyed the time he has spent at BSU thus far. He feels welcome and accepted amongst other students, despite the fact that he is not a traditional Honors student. Manship also said that his experiences here, including his interactions with other students, are constantly altering and molding his view of the world around him. “I am continually impressed by the maturity and depth of intellect students have here,” Manship said.
Story and photo // Nathan Clark