Student Spotlight: Information Technology Student Ray Tapp

Published on July 16, 2014 by arothstein

Here at Broadview University-Orem we are blessed with great students. One of those amazing students is information technology student Ray Tapp. I caught up with him during his hectic schedule that includes a family, going to school and a full-time job. Here is Ray’s story.

Tell me a little about yourself.

The first thing I always think of when I am asked about myself is my family. I love the little family I have started. My wife and I have been married almost seven years and we have a six-year-old boy (Tanner), a four-year-old girl (Raegan), and a one-year-old boy (Sawyer). We’ve been a pretty transient family having lived in eleven different homes in five different states in our seven years. Coming to Broadview is my fifth time starting school during that time. I grew up in Idaho and Anna (my wife) in Pennsylvania. We met while I was living out there, in Hershey, after high school and serving a mission for the LDS church. Utah has been our favorite place so far since we have a lot of family around and we enjoy being outdoors. We hope to stay here, but will see where life will take us.

Ray and his family

Why did you choose to go back to school? Why Broadview?

As I mentioned, coming to Broadview is my fifth time returning to school. That may actually be an inaccurate statement: I have been to five different schools mostly in different states. I have changed my mind about what I want to go to school for many times and decided a few times that school wasn’t for me. I am always drawn back to it because I love learning and because I would really like to finish and earn a degree. I come from a background with little emphasis on formal education after high school. My dad has an associate degree that he never really used and has had many different careers over the years and has never been very successful with any one of them. He has always bounced around trying to find the work that would pay the bills and looking for his big break. My motivation for finishing school is to become as amazing as my dad is, as well as having a degree and learning a career that will make a very comfortable living for my family at the very least.

I chose Broadview because it is the one school I have been to that I actually felt I would succeed at finishing school. Because I have a family, with all the financial obligations that go with it, I have to work full time and traditional universities don’t work well with a nontraditional student like me. I like that I can finish a degree in less time and that I can do it all at night after I finish school.

My favorite thing about Broadview is that everyone knows my name. The class sizes are small so I get to know all the students and professors and even the dean, Randy, and front desk ladies, Amanda and Tawnette, know me and call me by name every time I see them. What this means to me is that I have the chance to stand out and make a difference. When you are in a class of 300-500 people like some of the ones I was in at BYU, you feel like a number. Sure, you can go talk to the professor, but unless you are in there all the time, you won’t be remembered. It’s not to discredit the professors, just that in a situation like that, there is not opportunity to get individual attention and have your specific questions answered in a way that really makes sense to you.

What advice do you have for new students?

The advice I have for new students is to stick with it. The road I have taken is difficult! The longer you drag out your degree, the more consequences you will have. You can do it, it just gets harder as you get older. Props to the 40-, 50-, and 60-year-olds who return to school! While you are young, your body is able to take a lot more than you think it can. If you’ll tighten your belt and get to work, you can bust it out in no time!

The advice I have for those who are older and going back to school with family and job responsibilities is the same: stick with it. I’d also add to that: do whatever it takes! Bust your butt and get it done. The results will be worth it even if it is merely the sense of accomplishment of finishing something you started.

What would be your dream job?

I’m in the information technology program but I really want to be the CEO of a large company (either one I started or someone else’s) by the time I’m 50. I really want to be able to take a struggling company and turn it around or just to create a certain kind of culture within the company. I read a lot of leadership and business books, and I want to work for a company that will allow me to apply those principles and work my way up to be the CEO or COO of the company. I want to be able to make a difference in the lives of my employees. I want to be sought after. I don’t want the praise for myself; I love seeing people become the best they can be and I want to create a culture that fosters the personal growth of each member of my team and where they all feel like a very important part of the company, whether they are a janitor or a top sales rep.

Why do you feel it is important for people to get a college degree?

I think there are a couple reasons for getting a degree. One is that it will open doors that may be closed to those without degrees. Many companies will not hire for some of the positions that people really want if a person does not have a degree.

Another reason for getting a degree is for personal accomplishment. For some people, it is easy to just get out of high school and bust out four years of school. Some of these people probably take a degree for granted, but you can rest assured that anyone who has had to fight to get that same degree will appreciate it much more and will feel accomplished once they have that piece of paper in their hands!

The last reason, and maybe the most important, is that if you really understand what school is about, you will come to know that the function of school is to teach you to learn and to love learning. If you can learn how to love learning, your life will be much more prosperous. Learning to read is not about being entertained by fiction books (which are fun sometimes), but it is about being able to learn from other people’s experiences. Those who do not know history are doomed to repeat it.

What are your hobbies?

Outside of school I like to do many different things. I try to spend as much time with my family as possible. I like to take my kids camping and fishing. I really like to ride dirt bikes and ATVs. When I’m not crazy busy with school and work, I like to stay fit by running and working out to Insanity or P90X. I’ve recently acquired my first r/c airplane and I hope to learn that hobby soon. I enjoy reading Louis L’amour books and leadership and people skills books. I listen to audiobooks at work because much of what I do is monotonous and can require hours or even days of running a machine with little interaction with people.

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