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Oregon State Everywhere: Embracing change and challenges

Jeffery Tobin, a political science graduate of Oregon State University who earned his degree online

Jeffery Tobin says “time management and an ability to self-manage” played a key role in his ability to earn a political science degree online from Oregon State University.

Political science alum finds ‘perfect’ experience online with OSU after leaving media career

By Jeffery Tobin
OSU Ecampus political science graduate, Class of 2020
July 10, 2020

After 20 years as a professional journalist, it was time for a change.

Two years ago I made a life decision that Oregon State Ecampus helped make possible. I gave up my career in media to pursue a bachelor of arts degree in political science online, with the goal of moving on to a Ph.D. program.

I graduated from Oregon State last month, and next month I begin my Ph.D. journey at Florida International University. While there, I will study American politics as well as political systems of Latin America (specifically Mexico) for a separate Master of Arts in Latin American and Caribbean Studies.

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The decision to leave the media industry was not an easy one to make. While I was ready to move on to bigger and better things, I was also leaving the only career I had ever known. But my interests had evolved over the last 10 years or so, and I was excited about the opportunity to learn new skills and be part of something new.

With the help of my amazing wife, Julie, I narrowed down how I wanted to achieve the first goal in my plan: I would take online courses only. All part of the new adventure.

After intense research on which institution to attend, Oregon State became the clear choice due to its rich course selection, excellent faculty and overwhelming positive reception by former students. The guidance of instructors and advisors kept my studies on track and my drive focused in the right areas. Learning online was perfect for me. The classes are wide-ranging, and the faculty bring a broad expertise to their online classroom environments.

Several political science instructors at Oregon State helped me figure out how I wanted to move forward with my education, challenging me along the way. The challenge is important. It helped me prepare for the arduous task of applying to graduate schools and made me a better overall thinker. All of the classes I attended at OSU fall into this category – they make you think critically.

“Don’t be afraid of using your life experience to your advantage. You have skills that are very useful in the virtual classroom.”

Being an older student presents its own set of challenges, of course, but if you have the passion to meet them head-on, you will be rewarded. Don’t be afraid of using your life experience to your advantage. If you’ve been in the workforce for a decade or two like me, you have skills that are very useful in the online classroom. Namely, time management and an ability to self-manage are huge in succeeding in this program.

My future goals are still up in the air, but I would generally like to either teach at the university level or work for a policy think tank. But we’ll see what the next several years bring. There’s still a lot of road ahead before I get to my final goal.


The OSU Ecampus staff thanks Jeffery for sharing his experience as a political science online learner through the Oregon State Everywhere campaign.

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