Roy Barker is a senior living community consultant for Moore Diversified Services. The Fort Worth native has worked for AT&T as a construction manager and been an investment advisor at Morgan Stanley. Barker earned a bachelor’s in business administration with a concentration in finance and a master’s of science in gerontology/long-term care, senior housing and aging services from the University of North Texas. Barker shares his insight on being an adult student returning to school.

(Photo Courtesy of Roy Barker)

(Photo Courtesy of Roy Barker)

Why did you pursue a master’s degree?

“There were multiple reasons for me pursuing my master’s degree. First of all, I just wanted one. I had done well in my undergraduate studies and was at a point in life where I was ready to take it on. Second, my undergraduate is in finance, so my master’s in gerontology was more pointed to my consulting practice dealing with senior living operators. My degree has equipped me to sit for the Texas Nursing Home Administrator Licensure exam.”

What would you tell someone who is considering returning to school to earn a master’s degree?

“I would tell them to go for it. It’s a great accomplishment. I would advise that they make sure there are opportunities in the field they are pursuing the masters in and to have realistic expectations. Some people I went to school with didn’t really want to pursue opportunities that this degree opened doors for. There was a nine-year gap between earning my bachelor’s and going back to school to earn master’s. Get involved early and get it behind you, don’t wait as long as I did.”

What was the biggest challenge you faced when pursuing your master’s degree?

“The biggest challenge was keeping up with course work, maintaining a full-time job and a consistent family life.”

What was the biggest reward for earning the master’s degree?

“The biggest reward was just finishing. I was able to slide through high school as an athlete and was not really interested in school. All I ever really wanted to be was a cowboy. After I got a little older and into the corporate world, I realized I needed and wanted an education. It really had an impact on my life in helping open my mind to a whole big world around us.”

Robin D. Everson is a native Chicagoan who resides in Dallas, Texas. Her appreciation for art, food, wine, people and places has helped her become a well-respected journalist. A life-long lover of education, Robin seeks to learn and enlighten others about culture. You can find her work at Examiner.com